Louisville Area Unemployment Hits Lowest Mark in 10 Years

February 12, 2015

The Greater Louisville region recorded its lowest unemployment rate in 10 years and its second-highest employment rate in a decade during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to The State of the Louisville Regional Labor Market, released today by KentuckianaWorks. The unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 percent, and more than 595,000 people in the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) were employed during the fourth quarter.

“The data in this report is further evidence that our job-creation strategies are working, although we still have much to accomplish,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “As we continue working to create even more jobs for our citizens, we are focused on developing higher-wage jobs and making sure people of all ages have the skills and training those better jobs demand.”

This is the second report published by KentuckianaWorks, the Greater Louisville Workforce Investment Board. The report focuses on regional job development and is an effort to provide job seekers, employers, students and families with useful and current employment data and analysis.

“The region ended 2014 with employers creating jobs and more people finding work at many entry points,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks. “This real-time information about the region’s job market in the last three months should be very useful to those still trying to find a job, and will be a definite help to people who are looking to make a career move or plan a career.”

The fourth quarter report contains updated information on Top 30 Job Postings with wage information and 10,012 job postings and career information for six Career Pathways with data from October through December 2014.  In addition, this report contains 10-year trend data for the regional labor market on unemployment, total jobs, labor force size and employment.

Unemployment in the Louisville MSA in December 2014 dipped to 4.8 percent, according to the report, down from 6.8 percent in December 2013 and lower than the 5.1 percent rate recorded in December 2004. The Louisville MSA is comprised of Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd, Hamilton, Scott and Washington counties in Indiana.

 

Part of the reason behind Louisville’s low unemployment rate is that a smaller number of people are looking for work. The size of the local labor force shrank for the second year in a row. However, the region’s trend is reflective of the national labor force trends. The national labor force participation rate has been falling for more than 10 years, stabilizing only in recent months.

 

Since 2013, the Louisville MSA has added 9,130 new jobs, with 33,943 more people working in December 2014 than in December 2009. The report shows the Louisville region’s average annual inflation-adjusted wage continues a slight upward trajectory over the last five years, at a steady $3,000 a year higher than Kentucky as a whole.

 

The “Top 30 Job Postings” and “Top 30 Job Postings Paying above a Living Wage” charts included in the report give information on online job postings in the fourth quarter. From truck drivers and nurses to cashiers and office managers, salaries for top jobs ranged from $17,149 to nearly $170,000 (25th – 75th percentile pay ranges).

Most job openings for the three months from October to December 2014 were in healthcare, information technology and business, with most living-wage occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher. With more than 800 job postings from October to December 2014, registered nurses were the most highly sought-after employees.

With nearly 800 job postings in the same period, tractor-trailer truck drivers were the second most sought-after employees. Many of the top jobs do not require a college degree, but few of the top jobs above a living wage ($36,795 for a family of two adults and two children, without childcare expenses, in Jefferson County) require less than an associate degree. Tractor-trailer truck drivers are an exception, and a high school graduate can complete a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training course in as little as four weeks, land a job and expect annual wages of between $33,000 and $51,000 per year.

According to the report, employers continue to seek candidates with communication, organization and customer-service skills. Above that, the top three specialized skills sought by employers between October and December 2014 were accounting, patient care and sales. For the fourth quarter, employers were looking for employees with skills in the Microsoft Office software programs.

KentuckianaWorks will release the next quarterly report in May 2015. To view the full report online, go to www.kentuckianaworks.org/quarterlyreport/.