Ky. jobless rate ticks up to 8.3% in July

ssloan@herald-leader.comAugust 16, 2012 

Kentucky's unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent a month earlier, the state announced Thursday.

The rate matched the national unemployment measure, which also rose from 8.2 percent in June.

"The recent numbers reflect payback after stronger-than-usual hiring in the early part of the year due to warmer than normal temperatures," said Manoj Shanker, economist with the state Office of Employment and Training. "A single-month uptick in the unemployment rate is not enough cause to speculate if the hiring environment has weakened."

During July, five of the state's 11 major economic sectors reported employment increases, with the state adding 1,600 non-farm jobs during the month.

Leading the growth was the manufacturing sector, which increased by 1,800 jobs. Compared to a year ago, the sector has added 8,400 jobs, or grown nearly 4 percent, Shanker said in a statement.

The state does not identify individual employers in releasing statistical data.

The information sector, which includes the telecommunications industry, added 900 jobs in July.

There were increases of 700 jobs in the educational and health services sector and the leisure and hospitality sector.

Rounding out the increases was the financial activities sector, which grew by 200 jobs.

The largest employment losses came in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which shed 1,100 jobs.

"The recent drop in employment is in retail trade, which accounts for a little over half the jobs in this sector," Shanker noted. "It's too early to say if the decline from June is from a weakening demand."

Employment in the construction industry fell by 600 jobs.

"To some extent, warm weather has dragged down the seasonally adjusted data in construction," Shanker said. "But the housing market is clearly overstocked, and until that backlog is cleared, employment growth will be sluggish at best."

Other sectors seeing job losses were government (500); other services, which includes religious organizations and repair businesses (400); and mining and logging (100).

Employment in the professional and business services sector was flat.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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