State unemployment rate falls slightly in August

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky’s unemployment rate saw a slight dip in August, according to figures released Thursday by the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary August 2021 jobless rate was 4.3%. That was down by one-tenth of a percentage point from July 2021, and down 1.2 percentage points from the 5.5% that was recorded for the state one year ago, four months into the CVOID-19 pandemic.

This was below the U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2021, which was 5.2%, down from the 5.4% reported in July 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

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 rose by 20,800 jobs in August 2021 compared to July. The state’s nonfarm employment was also up 47,000 jobs or 2.6%, compared to August 2020.

“Kentucky saw strong employment growth in August,” said Mike Clark, director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “The state’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3% as the number of workers who found a job exceeded the number of people who returned to the labor force.”

All major job sectors increased or were unchanged between July and August, except for construction, as well as the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Construction employment declined by 900 jobs between July and August 2021, however, it was up 4,400 positions or 5.8% from one year ago.

The biggest loss was Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector, which contracted by 2,800 positions from July 2021 to August 2021, a loss of 1.6%. This sector was up 7,900 jobs or 4.8% compared to August 2020. The accommodations and food services subsector lost 2,900 jobs between July and August, while the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector gained 100 positions.

“The decline in accommodations and food service may reflect the challenges businesses in this sector face attracting and retaining workers rather than just reduced customer demand as COVID cases rise,” said Clark.

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 a job within the past four weeks.


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