New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the jobless rate in Louisville and the surrounding area dropped last month.
Unemployment in March was just over 10 percent, down from 11 percent. That represents roughly 4,500 people finding jobs.
Local unemployment is still about a point higher than the national rate, and Kentuckiana Works Executive Director Michael Gritton says a larger drop will likely depend on improvements in the housing market and several other factors.
“What would help is if we get a couple of big projects: if we know the bridge project stays on track to break ground next year. If it turns out that Museum Plaza or the housing development down along the water would get moving. Big projects that would tend to drive big construction employment. The University of Louisville’s been a big driver on that, but we need other big drivers as well,” he says.
Even though the rate does not take into account people who have given up looking for work, Gritton says the increase is still a positive sign.
“The unemployment rate tends to under account the total number of people that are out there that’d like to be working. But still what we know is, if the unemployment rate alone shows 65,000 people who are looking and can’t find something, that’s a big number. So anything that adds 5,000 jobs in one month or relative to the previous year is a big number, and that’s very good news,” he says.
About 5,000 more people entered the area labor force last month.