State jobless rate passes 11 percent

Kentucky's unemployment rate jumped again in July, reaching a high not seen since August 1983.

The 11.1 percent rate is up from 10.9 percent in June 2009 and 6.5 percent in July 2008.

It's the 17th month in a row of job decreases year-over-year, and it also marked the second-largest year-over-year drop in jobs since January 1990, said Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the state Office of Employment and Training.

Even though the jobless rate rose, Kentucky's nonfarm employment rose slightly — up 600 jobs.

Detzel said that was due to workers coming back after layoffs at a manufacturer "and does not reflect the creation of any new jobs."

"However, the pace of layoffs and the economic downturn are moderating," she said in a statement.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell from 9.5 percent in June to 9.4 percent in July.

One of the few bright spots in the state report was growth in the educational and health services sector, which added 2,400 jobs in July. It's gained 3,200 job since last July.

Kentucky's unemployment rate is nearing the state's all-time high of 12.1 percent, which was recorded in December 1982. Records go back to 1976.

Detzel said last month there's a possibility that Kentucky will surpass that record in the current recession. She noted that several other states have already surpassed their all-time highs.