Economic Update: Louisville Metro Jobs Surpass February 2020 Total

By Dr. Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair in Business Professor of Finance, Indiana University Southeast

The latest BLS data on metropolitan jobs show that Louisville Metro payrolls have finally surpassed the level that existed in February 2020, just before the Covid shutdown of the economy. While these are preliminary estimates and subject to subsequent revisions, the data do provide a view of the regional labor economy.  The latest report indicated that the region’s labor force showed another uptick, increasing by approximately 3,000 from July to August (non-seasonally adjusted).  The increase in the labor force was accompanied by a decline in the number of unemployed, resulting in a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.1%.

Payrolls were up by 23,000 over the year representing a 3.4% increase.  Over the past 30 years, this over-the-year difference would rank among the highest. The seasonal adjustment had payrolls increasing by 22,000 over the year and about 8,000 from July to August.  Both numbers would be considered above average. Since February 2020, payrolls are up about 4,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Going back to August of 2020, the biggest gainer in jobs was the professional and business services sector, adding about 15,000 jobs. We use August 2020 as a comparison due to the non-seasonality of the data.  The bulk of the job gains in professional and business services came in the Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services industry. Leisure and hospitality added about 11,000 jobs since then, but August 2020 was also a depressed level of payrolls. Manufacturing payrolls have increased by roughly 5,000 since August 2020, and transportation and warehousing added just under 4,000.

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