FRANKFORT — For the first time in more than four years, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent to 7.9 percent in January 2013, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The revised December 2012 state rate was 8 percent.
Kentucky’s unemployment rate has not been below 8 percent since November 2008 when it was 7.8 percent.
The preliminary January 2013 jobless rate was .6 percentage points below the 8.5 percent rate recorded for the state in January 2012.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased to 7.9 percent in January 2013 from 7.8 percent in December 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“With the exception of a few blips, the unemployment rate has been improving quite steadily over the last year,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “The improvement in the labor market has been steady, though painfully slow. Mixed signals from the federal government and uncertainty in the foreign market have slowed the hiring process in Kentucky.”
In January 2013, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,085,509, a decrease of 820 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment also fell with 53 fewer jobs, while the number of unemployed people dropped by 767.
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 in January 2013 from the previous month. On an over-the-year basis, the state’s nonfarm employment has grown by 1 percent with the addition of 18,300 jobs.
“Kentucky has now recovered 85,700 or about 71 percent of the 120,000 nonfarm jobs lost during the employment downturn period between January 2008 and February 2010,” said Shanker.
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, because of the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.