The number applying for unemployment benefits in Kentucky dropped by more than in all but four other states during the week ending Jan. 5, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor. While Kentucky did not list a reason why 4,257 sought unemployment benefits during the first week of 2013 than in the final week of 2012, we hope it is a sign of an improving job market and a stronger economy in the state.
Michigan, one of the states hardest hit by the recession, had the largest decline in the number seeking unemployment benefits during the week, with 12,536. The state cited fewer layoffs in construction for the drop.
Next came New Jersey with 5,530 fewer seeking unemployment benefits because of fewer layoffs in education, construction and manufacturing; Oregon, with jobless applications down by 5,471 during the week with no reason given, and Ohio, with applications down by 4,915 because of fewer layoffs in manufacturing. Wisconsin was No. 6 with 51 fewer applications for benefits than Kentucky.
At the other end of the spectrum, New York had the largest increase in unemployment applications during the week with 37,189. The state cited layoffs in transportation, construction and educational support services for the increase.
Georgia had the second highest increase in applications with 15,354, because of layoffs in manufacturing, administrative support, construction and health care, followed by North Carolina with 13,606, because of layoffs in textiles, business services, construction, furniture and transportation equipment; California with 8,691, because of layoffs in services and agriculture; and Texas with an 8,669 increase, because of layoffs in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.
The Labor Department cautioned the changing jobless numbers were largely a result of seasonal adjustments with a number of retail stores laying off workers hired for the Christmas season. Even in the best of times, that occurs at the end of every year.
So, we resist the urge to make too much of Kentucky having a much larger decline in the number of applications for unemployment benefits than states with far more people than this state has, but it certainly is an indication the economy is steadily improving in this state. May that trend continue.