Ky. jobless rate rises slightly to 10.7%

Despite a gain of 100 jobs in December, Kentucky saw its unemployment rate rise 0.1 percentage point to 10.7 percent as more people began looking for work.

The state unemployment rate rose above 10 percent last May and has stayed there since. The rate in December 2008 was 7.6 percent.

"There's some pretty good news in the data," said Ron Crouch, director of research and statistics for the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Crouch noted that three of the 11 evaluated job sectors — professional and business services, education and health services, and mining and logging — saw growth in December and for the year as a whole.

Four others were down for the year but saw growth in December.

The biggest increase in the month, 4,900 jobs, came in the professional and business services sector, which includes temporary help agencies.

"One of the leading indicators of job growth is temporary job hiring," Crouch said.

The second-largest increase came in the government sector, which saw an increase of 700 jobs during the month.

The financial activities sector rose by 500 positions in the month.

Other sectors seeing employment increases in the month were other services and information.

The largest monthly losses came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which shed 4,700 jobs in December. Some of that is due to seasonal adjustments, which works to smooth employment trends affected by seasons, Crouch said, but it also indicates that people might have been spending more on Christmas gifts and less on eating out during the month.

The construction sector lost 1,100 jobs, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 700 jobs.

Manufacturing saw a loss of just 300 jobs during the month, far less than has been seen in past months. The sector has shed 21,800 jobs since December 2008.

Overall, the state's unemployment rate continued to outpace the nation's, which was 10 percent in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.