In April 7 IssueBy John ThompsonTimes Journal Reporter
Russell County's employment rate continues to suffer, but may be improving. After a tough start in January with a 12.6 percent unemployment rate, February is showing a preliminary rate of 12.3 percent, according to Labor Force Statistics provided by Workforce Kentucky, a division of the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.
The slight dip continues a trend of a steady rise occasionally offset every few months by a small decline in the unemployment rate. Russell County ended 2010 with an 11.2 percent unemployment rate in December, with the average unemployment rate for all of 2010 in Russell County being 11.4 percent.
Overall, Kentucky had an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent for February while the preliminary rate for the entire United States sits at 9.5 percent.
Unemployment is defined, in part, as persons 16 years and over who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work (except for illness), and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the four week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.
The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed persons as a percent of the labor force, where labor force equals the total number of people who are working plus those that are unemployed but seeking work.
Unemployment rates do not consider unemployed anyone working, and reporting as little as one hour of work a week, so does not include the many who have had to take what may be inadequately compensated part time positions, nor does it account for workers who may be working "under the table." Some experts have suggested that a true unemployment rate may run as much as double the official rate nationwide.
The Kentucky county with the lowest unemployment rate in February was Webster County with 8.5 percent, while Magoffin County had the highest unemployment rate of 21.0 percent.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the month of March in the country (county statistics are available many weeks after national statistics), U.S. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on April 1. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and mining. Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up.
The number of unemployed persons (13.5 million) and the unemployment rate (8.8 percent) changed little in March. The labor force also was little changed over the month. Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by 1.0 percentage point.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.6 percent), adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (7.9 percent), blacks (15.5 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed little change in March. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, at 8.2 million, was little changed in March but has fallen by 1.3 million since November 2010. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 6.1 million in March; their share of the unemployed increased from 43.9 to 45.5 percent over the month.
In March, the civilian labor force participation rate held at 64.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.5 percent, changed little.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in March. Job gains occurred in several service-providing industries and in mining, and manufacturing employment continued to trend up. Since a recent low in February 2010, total payroll employment has grown by 1.5 million.
In March, employment in the service-providing sector continued to expand, led by a gain of 78,000 in professional and business services. Most of the gain occurred in temporary help services (+29,000) and in professional and technical services (+35,000).
Health care employment continued to increase in March (+37,000). Over the last 12 months, health care has added 283,000 jobs, or an average of 24,000 jobs per month.
Employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 37,000 over the month, with more than two-thirds of the increase in food services and drinking places (+27,000).
Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in March (+17,000). Job gains were concentrated in two durable goods industries--fabricated metal products (+8,000) and machinery (+5,000). Employment in durable goods manufacturing has risen by 243,000 since its most recent low in December 2009.
In March, employment in mining increased by 14,000, with much of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+9,000).
Employment in local government continued to trend down over the month. Local government has lost 416,000 jobs since an employment peak in September 2008.