Kentucky’s unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent for the first time in three years in 2012. Since then it’s averaged 8.4 percent. But the job market has grown more than that number suggests.
As of the end of November, Kentucky had added 35,000 new jobs in 2012. Kentucky Office of Employment and Training economist Manoj Shanker says that’s a huge number. But he says unemployment rates haven’t dropped very quickly because as news gets better, people who haven’t been looking start re-entering the workforce.
“Suppose unemployment rates in January becomes 7.9 percent for Kentucky, and of course everybody will report it and talk about it. And people who weren’t looking for jobs, or who stayed an extra semester in college will say, heck the economy is good, let me go and look for a job," Shanker said.
Shanker says many industries are still cautious. Some companies are consolidating jobs. Others prefer hiring temporary workers right now because they are unsure about stability in markets they sell to outside the U. S.