The seasonally adjusted preliminary September 2020 unemployment rate was 5.6%, according to figures released by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet on Thursday.  That was down 1.9 percentage points from August 2020, but up 1.3 percentage points from the 4.3% recorded for the state one year ago.

“Kentucky’s lower unemployment rate for September was driven by unemployed workers leaving the labor force rather than finding work,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research Director Dr. Mike Clark.  “The number of people working in Kentucky was still down 8.9 percent compared to the months just before the pandemic.”

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based upon estimates from the Current Population Survey of households.  The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working and includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,925,252 in September 2020, a decrease of 83,590 individuals from August 2020.  The number of people employed in September dropped by 41,523, while the number unemployed fell by 42,067.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 500 jobs in September 2020 compared to August.  However, employment in the state was down 117,200 jobs or 6%, compared to September 2019.

“Kentucky’s nonfarm employment grew slightly in September,” said Clark. “Private employers continued to expand their payrolls, but at a slower pace than over the past few months. These gains were mostly offset by employment losses in the public sector.”

Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary 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.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for September 2020 was 7.9 percent, down from 8.4 percent in August 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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