By Tom Latek
Kentucky’s preliminary December 2021 unemployment rate fell by 0.2% from the previous month, according to figures released by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet on Thursday.
December’s jobless rate was 3.9%, compared with the 4.1% reported in November, and was down 1.7 percentage points from the 5.6% recorded for the state one year ago.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for December 2021 was also 3.9%, down from the 4.2% reported in November 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 8,300 jobs in December 2021 compared to November 2021. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 61,500 jobs or 3.3% compared to December 2020.
“As of December, Kentucky had recovered or replaced 82% of the jobs lost during the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Clark, director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “The rate of recovery improved beginning with an August jump in local government employment as schools reopened. Employment gains in construction, manufacturing, health care, and accommodations and food services over the past five months also contributed to the recovery.”
Clark also noted, “The recovery is reflected in Kentucky’s labor market, which increased by nearly 22,000 workers since July. After declining to 56.3% in the summer, Kentucky’s labor force participation rate ended the year at 56.8%. This rate is still well below pre-pandemic levels.”
Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for eight of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System job sectors in December 2021 while three declined.
Those showing a decline were the educational and health services, government and “other” sectors.
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.