Ky. jobless rate steady at 9.8%

Kentucky's unemployment rate stayed steady in April at 9.8 percent, state officials said Tuesday.

On its face, steadiness sounds like a victory, considering the unemployment rate has increased month-to-month in all but one month since January 2008.

But behind it is "individuals who have faced long-term unemployment becoming discouraged and dropping out of the labor force," said Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the Office of Employment and Training.

A year ago, the rate, which remains at a 25-year high, was 6.1 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in April was 8.9 percent, nearly a point below the rate in Kentucky, which has been devastated by a loss in manufacturing jobs since the recession began.

The manufacturing sector lost 2,400 jobs in April and has shed 36,600 jobs in the past year.

Only two industries saw an increase in employment in the month. The construction sector had 400 more workers, its first employment increase since October. The hires are coming, Detzel said, in heavy and civil engineering because of the start of stimulus-related public works projects.

Also, the mining and logging sector added 200 jobs.