Thursday, August 26, 2004

Jobless rate declines, but manufacturing weak

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Kentucky's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in July, down from 5.5 percent in June and by more than a percentage point from the previous July, new state figures show.

Non-farm employment increased by 6,000 jobs in July, mainly due to a surge of 10,900 public education jobs as schools geared up, according to a report from the state Office of Employment and Training.

The second-highest gain - 1,100 jobs - was in the leisure and hospitality market, the report said.

However, the state lost 5,200 manufacturing jobs for the month and had 5,600 fewer than in July 2003, the report said.

Janey Moores, owner of BJM Staffing in Lexington, said manufacturing employees are being displaced by technology and the practice of "outsourcing" jobs.

"The days of high-paying, assembly-type jobs are over," Moores said. But she added: "Consumers and the business sector are more confident. Businesses are investing more and hiring more."

The employment report noted gains in educational and health services, professional and business services and another service category that includes repair and maintenance, religious and civic organizations and laundries.

Other job losses were noted in construction, finance and a category that includes transportation, utilities and retail and wholesale trade.

Employment figures are estimates based on a monthly survey of businesses, not a census of the work force. Figures are seasonally adjusted to account for weather changes, holidays, harvests and school openings and closings, the report said.


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