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KELC releases July 2023 Unemployment Report

From Mike Clark/Kim Saylor Brannock

Frankfort, KY - Kentucky's seasonally adjusted preliminary July 2023 unemployment rate was 3.8%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet (KELC).

The preliminary July 2023 jobless rate was unchanged from June 2023 and was down 0.1 percentage points from one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for July 2023 was 3.5%, which was down 0.1 percentage points from June 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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

Kentucky's civilian labor force was 2,052,595 in July 2023, a decrease of 1,990 individuals from June 2023. The number of people employed in July fell by 3,535 to 1,973,616 while the number unemployed increased by 1,545 to 78,979.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky's seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 400 jobs to 2,013,500 in July 2023 compared to June 2023. Kentucky's nonfarm employment was up 50,200 jobs or 2.6% compared to July 2022.

"At 3.8%, Kentucky's unemployment rate remained just above its historic low rate of 3.7%, which was set in April of this year," said University of Kentucky's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. "While Kentucky's job market remains strong, the latest estimates suggest the market might have cooled a bit in July. Fewer people reported being in the labor force and employed and more reported being unemployed. Total nonfarm employment also fell slightly in July, suggesting that many employers are maintaining their employment levels but are not adding workers at the same pace as over the past year."

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for five of Kentucky's major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in July 2023, decreased for four, and was unchanged for two.

The educational and health services sector jumped by 4,200 positions in July 2023. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector added 3,700 jobs in July while the educational services subsector rose by 500 jobs. Since last July, this sector has grown by 14,500 jobs or 5%.

Kentucky's manufacturing sector gained 2,800 jobs from June 2023 to July 2023. Durable goods manufacturing employment was up 2,200 jobs in July. Employment in non-durable goods manufacturers was increased by 600 jobs. Kentucky's manufacturing employment was up 9,000 positions or 3.5% since July 2022.

The leisure and hospitality sector added 1,400 positions from June 2023 to July 2023, representing a gain of 0.7%. This sector reported 4,000 more jobs in July than one year ago. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector did not change from June to July. The accommodations and food services subsector added 1,400 jobs in July.

Construction employment increased by 500 jobs or 0.6% from June to July 2023 and was up 6,000 positions or 7.2% from one year ago.

The other services sector reported 300 more jobs in July than in June. This sector had 1,600 more positions in July 2023 compared to July 2022. This sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The number of jobs in the state's mining and logging sector did not change from June to July. This sector had 400 more jobs compared to July 2022.

Employment in Kentucky's information services sector was unchanged from June to July. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications. The number of jobs in this sector grew by 700 or 3.2% from one year ago.

Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector fell by 400 from June to July but was up 7,000 jobs or 1.7% compared to a year ago. The wholesale trade subsector added 600 jobs in July, but these gains were offset by a loss of 1,000 jobs in the retail subsector. Employment in the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector did not change from June to July.

Employment in the financial activities sector fell by 900 jobs from June 2023 to July 2023. Employment was down by 600 jobs in the finance and insurance subsector from June to July and down 300 jobs in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector. The sector decreased by 3,700 positions compared to last July.

"Employment in Kentucky's financial activities sector continued to decline in July," said Clark. "The loss of jobs in the sector is concentrated in the finance and insurance subsector, which has been falling since mid-2022. Employment in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector have improved and recently passed its pre-pandemic levels."

Kentucky's professional and business services sector contracted by 1,800 jobs or 0.8% in July 2023. Employment decreased by 700 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector. The administrative, support and waste management subsector lost 1,100 jobs. Employment in the management of companies subsector was unchanged from June to July. The sector has increased by 2,400 jobs or 1% since July 2022.

"Kentucky's professional and business services sector has recovered the jobs lost during the end of 2022," said Clark. "Much of this recovery occurred among the administrative, support and waste management subsector. However, jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector have also seen strong gains in recent months."

Employment in the government sector fell by 6,500 from June 2023 to July 2023. Employment increased by 200 in federal government; was unchanged in state government; and decreased by 6,700 jobs in local government. Employment in the total government sector rose by 8,300 positions or 2.8% compared to July 2022.

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.

Kentucky's 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, due to the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

To learn more about Kentucky labor market information, visit

This story was posted on 2023-08-17 10:14:50
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