Register staff report
Kentucky’s annual unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent in 2012 from 9.5 percent in 2011, a difference of 1.3 percent, according to data released Friday by the state Office of Employment and Training.
Nonfarm employment gained about 28,800 jobs, the state reported
Although Kentucky saw a significant improvement in its annual jobless rate last year, it was still slightly below the national rate of 8.1 percent that had been 8.9 percent in 2011.
“In 2012, Kentucky’s labor force expanded as more people looked for jobs than in the previous year,” said Manoj Shanker, a state government economist.
“But, the number of new jobs created in our economy outstripped the number of new entrants in the job market, and that caused our unemployment rate to dip sharply.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for 2012 was more than 1.9 million, up 28,432 from 2011 and up 65,385 more than in 2002.
The estimated number of Kentuckians without jobs for 2012 was 170,926, down 25,310 from the 196,236 unemployed in 2011.
However, the number of those unemployed was up by 58,951 compared to 10 years earlier.
In 2012, the estimated number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force was 2,074,806. This is up 3,123 from the 2,071,683 recorded in 2011, and up 124,336 from 1,950,470 in 2002.
Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on surveys designed to measure trends.
Kentucky had the 19th highest annual unemployment rate among all states and the District of Columbia in 2012.
Annual average unemployment rates declined in 46 states and the district, rose in two states and were unchanged in two.
North Dakota had the nation’s lowest 2012 unemployment rate at 3.1 percent, while Nevada had the highest rate at 11.1 percent.
Among surrounding states, Indiana and Illinois had unemployment rates higher than Kentucky, while Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee had lower rates.
In 2012, Kentucky’s nonfarm payroll (agriculture and self-employed jobs excluded) increased by 28,800 or 1.6 percent to 1,824,400 employees, giving it the highest number of nonfarm jobs since 2008 when the state’s nonfarm employment stood at 1,851,700.
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count the number of people working, according to the state news release.
Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.
More about Kentucky labor market information can be found at www.kylmi.ky.gov.