Kentucky's October jobless rate holds at 8.4 percent

Kentucky's unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in October, the same as in September, the state announced Thursday.

The state continued to lag the national unemployment measure, which rose from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent in October.

In October, only two of the state's 11 major economic sectors reported employment increases, and the state lost 6,600 non-farm jobs.

"It is important not to read too much into a one-month decline, especially when it occurs after 16 months of steady growth," Manoj Shanker, economist with the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, said in a statement.

The gains came in the educational and health services sector, which added 1,500 jobs, and the financial activities sector, which rose by 500 positions.

The largest losses came in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which shed 2,000 positions.

"The sudden decline ... is almost entirely from a contraction in retail sales employment," Shanker said. "This reflects payback after stronger-than-usual hiring in September, when retail employment was up by over 2 percent with the addition of 4,300 jobs."

The government sector fell by 1,600 positions, and the professional and business services sector lost 1,500 jobs.

The construction sector, which saw gains earlier this year, saw employment drop by 1,400 jobs.

"The housing market continues to be overstocked in Kentucky, and employment will be flat at best until the backlog is cleared," Shanker said.

Other sectors with declining employment were leisure and hospitality (900 jobs), mining and logging (600), information (400) and other services (200). The other services category includes repair companies and religious organizations.

Employment was steady in the manufacturing sector.