State jobless rate rises to 11.2 percent

Kentucky's unemployment rate rose in October to 11.2 percent, but the state saw an overall net gain in jobs.

Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the state Office of Employment and Training, said that the state's economy showed some improvement in the month but that hiring tended to be "indicative of temporary hiring and strength in the employment services industry."

Kentucky's unemployment rate rose above 10 percent in May and has stayed above that ever since. The state had a slight reprieve in September, when the jobless rate dipped to 10.9 percent from 11.2 percent. But that happened because people who had been out of work for a long time were "becoming discouraged and dropping out of the labor force," Detzel said at the time.

The rate a year ago was 6.9 percent.

Seven of the 11 major industries tracked showed employment increases during the month while four decreased. Overall, the state added 2,900 jobs in the month.

"This represents an easing in the employment losses in Kentucky's economy, which has hemorrhaged jobs in 19 months since the recession commenced in December 2007," Detzel said. "Since the start of the recession, non-farm employment in Kentucky has decreased by 109,500 positions."

The biggest increase — 5,000 jobs — came in the professional and business services sector, she said, primarily administrative and support jobs. She cited temporary hiring at a document-processing center in the state, as well as the opening of a call center.

The second-largest increase came in the government sector, which saw an increase of 1,200 jobs during the month.

Other sectors seeing employment increases were financial activities; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; mining and logging; and construction.

The largest monthly losses came in the other services sector, which includes organizations such as repair and maintenance businesses, churches and civic organizations. The sector saw a drop of 2,200 jobs.

The second-largest loss came in the hard-hit manufacturing sector, which saw 2,000 jobs lost in the month and has seen 32,900 jobs lost since October 2008.

"This marks the 16th time in the last 17 months industrial employment has fallen," Detzel said.

The second-largest loss came in the educational and health services sector, which dropped by 400 jobs.

Overall, the state's unemployment rate continued to outpace the nation's, which was 10.2 percent in October, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.