Kentucky's unemployment rate dipped in September, but the reason isn't so rosy.
The state Office of Employment and Training said the jobless rate was 10.9 percent compared to 11.2 percent in August. But that dip came because people who have been out of work for a long time are "becoming discouraged and dropping out of the labor force," said Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the Office of Employment and Training.
And while it's down month-to-month, the jobless rate is up 4 percentage points from the September 2008 rate of 6.9 percent.
"Kentucky's economy continued to struggle under the weight of the recession, suffering the biggest monthly employment decline and the largest number of year-over-year job losses on records dating back to January 1990," Detzel said in describing the September data.
The state lost 14,600 jobs in September, she said. It was the 19th straight month of job losses since the recession started in December 2007.
Only one sector of Kentucky's economy saw an increase in jobs in September, and that was the construction sector, which added 400 positions.
"This is the first increase in the number of jobs in the construction sector since April 2009, reflecting the start of multiple commercial and public works construction projects," Detzel said.
The biggest drop in jobs came in the government sector, which fell by 6,400 positions.
The news came as the Federal Reserve issued its findings on regional economies, noting that the seven-state area that includes Kentucky saw overall business decline. The Fed said that manufacturing lost ground and makers of appliances and furniture were among those closing plants and cutting jobs. It did say that makers of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, rubber tires and chemicals were among those expanding.
In agriculture, heavy rains have slowed crop maturity and delayed harvests, a problem that has plagued some of Kentucky's burley tobacco farmers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.