State jobless rate dips to 10.7 percent

Kentucky's unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points in March, to 10.7 percent, though the news isn't all good, a state labor market analyst said.

"Kentucky's economy showed some signs of stabilization ... however, the employment gains are inflated by employees at a major manufacturer returning to work after a temporary layoff and temporary hiring at a federal agency engaged in data collection efforts," said Justine Detzel, chief labor market analyst for the state Office of Employment and Training.

The state does not identify specific companies when it releases jobless rate data.

Kentucky's unemployment rate rose to more than 10 percent in May and has stayed there. March's rate matched January's and remains higher than the nation's, which was 9.7 percent in March. A year ago, the state's unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

Seven of the 11 major industries that are tracked showed employment increases in March, while three decreased and one remained the same.

Overall, the state gained 7,700 jobs in March. Since March 2009, the state has lost 21,400 jobs, Detzel said.

The biggest increase — 4,500 jobs — came in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which saw an opening of an air transportation business, Detzel said.

Another area with job growth was the construction sector, which added 2,000 jobs. It was the first month-to-month increase in construction jobs since October.

The educational and health services sector added 1,700 jobs, and the government sector gained 1,200 jobs.

The manufacturing sector, which has suffered heavy losses since the recession began, rose by 400 jobs.

Detzel said the gains were "a sign of workers returning from a temporary shutdown at a major manufacturing plant, the opening of an automobile parts producer, and expansions at a stove and fireplace manufacturer and a beverage dispensing products factory."

Other sectors with gains were the mining and logging and professional and business services sector, each of which added 200 jobs.

The financial activities sector saw the same employment from February to March.

Sectors that lost jobs were leisure and hospitality, which was down 1,600 positions. The other services sector, which includes repair and maintenance business and religious groups, fell by 800 jobs. Finally, the information sector saw a loss of 100 jobs.