Kentucky’s unemployment rates rise for 2nd consecutive month

Published 9:45 am Friday, December 22, 2023

For the second month in a row, Kentucky’s unemployment rate rose, according to information released Thursday by the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet.

The seasonally adjusted preliminary November 2023 unemployment rate was 4.3%, up 0.1% from October, and a 0.4% increase from one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November 2023 was 3.7%, which was down 0.2% from October 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,036,638 in November, which was 3,994 lower the previous month. The number of people employed in November fell by 5,689 to 1,949,393 while the number unemployed increased by 1,695 to 87,245.

“The number of people employed in Kentucky has declined in recent months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research Director Mike Clark.  “With fewer people working, the state has seen both an increase in the number of people looking for a job and a decrease in the number of workers in the state’s labor force.”

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 5,500 jobs to 2,028,100 in November 2023 compared to the previous month.  Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 51,900 jobs or 2.6% compared to a year ago.

“The new estimates indicate that Kentucky’s payroll employment fell in November,” said Clark. “This represents the first decrease in what has otherwise been a strong year for Kentucky’s employment growth.  The November decrease shaves 5,500 jobs off the 58,000 jobs added so far this year.”

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.

Gov. Andy Beshear says while he will monitor for a trend, the unemployment rate is a double-edged sword.

“It can tell you some people have gone from employed to unemployed, but it also tells us more people who are out of the job market are now looking. That is a good sign for these job openings we have out there. We need more people who have been out of the job market getting back in. An uptick in the unemployment rate itself is not concerning, as a big part of it is people looking for jobs again.”