Kentucky’s May unemployment rate unchanged from April

Unemployment Rate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentuckys seasonally adjusted preliminary May 2019 unemployment rate was 4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for May 2019 was unchanged from April 2019.

The preliminary May 2019 jobless rate was down 0.4 percentage points from the 4.4 percent recorded for the state in May 2018.

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The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for May 2019 was 3.6 percent, unchanged from its April 2019 level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

Kentucky civilian labor force increased by 1,654 individuals in May 2019, bringing the states labor force to 2,066,916. The number of people employed in May was up by 1,474, while the number unemployed increased by 180.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentuckys seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 100 jobs in May 2019 compared to April 2019. Kentucky has added 18,900 jobs since May 2018, for a growth rate of 1 percent.

Kentuckys unemployment rate remained low in May, as most new workers entering the labor force appear to be finding jobs, said University of Kentuckys Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Associate Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. However, nonfarm employment growth slowed in May, largely due to reduced employment in the professional and business services sector and the financial activities sector.

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, four of Kentuckys 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors saw employment increases from the previous month while six declined and one was unchanged.

Kentuckys leisure and hospitality sector added 1,800 positions from April 2019 to May 2019, an increase of 0.9 percent. All of this growth occurred within the accommodations and food services subsector, which added 1,800 jobs. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector was unchanged in May 2019. This sector is up 3,800 positions since May 2018.

Accommodation and food services has shown strong growth so far this year, said Clark. Employment in this subsector is up 4,200 jobs so far this year.

Construction employment increased by 800 jobs in May or 1 percent. The construction sector was up 2,500 jobs during the past 12 months for a gain of 3.2 percent.

Employment in Kentuckys educational and health services sector rose by 200 jobs in May 2019. Growth in the educational services subsector accounted for all of this growth. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector was unchanged. Since last May, the sector has added 7,900 positions or 2.9 percent.

The information services sector was up 100 jobs in May 2019. Employment in this sector has decreased by 200 jobs since May 2018. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Employment in Kentuckys professional and business services sector fell by 1,100 jobs in May 2019 or 0.5 percent. This sector was down 1,300 jobs since May 2018. Among the subsectors, professional, scientific and technical services decreased the most since April 2019 with 700 fewer jobs.

The financial activities sector reported 600 fewer jobs in May 2019. The sector is up 100 jobs compared to last May. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector declined by 400 jobs, while the finance and insurance subsector dropped by 200 jobs.

Kentuckys manufacturing sector decreased by 300 jobs or 0.1 percent from April 2019 to May 2019. Durable goods manufacturing added 100 jobs and non-durable manufacturing decreased by 400 jobs. Kentuckys manufacturing employment is up by 3,800 jobs since May 2018.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 300 jobs in May 2019. Since May 2018, employment in this sector has expanded by 2,300 positions or 0.6 percent. Employment decreased by 200 jobs in wholesale trade, increased by 100 jobs in retail trade, and decreased by 200 jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities.

The government sector declined by 300 jobs in May 2019 compared to April 2019. The local government employment fell by 200 jobs, federal government decreased by 100 jobs, and state government employment was unchanged. Total government employment has decreased by 1,600 jobs since May 2018.

Employment decreased by 200 jobs in the other services sector from April 2019 to May 2019. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations. Employment in this sector is up by 1,400 positions since May 2018.

Kentuckys mining and logging sector was unchanged in May and was up by 200 positions from a year ago for a gain of 2 percent.

Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.

Kentuckys statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are seasonally adjusted. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events, such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. However, because of the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.