Kentucky's unemployment rate edged down 0.2 percentage points in May, to 10.4 percent, as employment was boosted by government hiring including temporary jobs related to the census.
The state added 6,500 jobs in May, marking the third straight month for job gains. The month also represents the highest level of non-farm employment since February 2009.
It also marked another milestone in the road to economic recovery, as May was the "first year-over-year increase in non-farm employment since February 2008, ending a string of 26 months in a row of year-over-year employment losses," said Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the state Office of Employment and Training.
The state's unemployment rate continued to outpace the national rate of 9.7 percent.
Five of the 11 major industries that are tracked showed employment increases in May, while three decreased and three stayed the same.
The biggest increase came in the government sector, which added 3,400 jobs.
The manufacturing sector gained 1,600 jobs, "which is a sign of an expansion at an appliance manufacturer and the opening of a steel cabinet factory," Detzel said. The state does not identify employers when releasing data.
Other sectors seeing job gains were leisure and hospitality (1,300), professional and business services (800) and information (200).
Sectors with steady employment were mining and logging; trade, transportation and utilities; and educational and health services.
Job losses came in the other services sector, which fell by 500 positions. That includes religious organizations and repair businesses. Also losing jobs were the financial activities sector, which shed 200 jobs, and the construction sector, which lost 100.