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Louisville Metro Unemployment Rate Remains Steady, Data Show

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There are some 25,600 people in Louisville Metro looking for work, but can't find it.

That's according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks employment rates across the country.

The data show Louisville Metro had an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent in May.

Such rates are widely seen as an indicator for economic vitality. The unemployment rate is based on the number of residents who don’t have a job, but want one and have actively sought employment within the past month, according to the federal agency that keeps track of the nation’s labor force.

The national unemployment rate is 4.3 percent, according to the federal agency data.

Many large cities have experienced dips in unemployment rates in recent months.

Kent Oyler, president of Greater Louisville Inc. — the area's chamber of commerce — said the national trend of strengthening markets is a good thing.

"We are in a growth period for hiring and investment," he said. "We have to capitalize."

Oyler said there are thousands of open positions in the metro area. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has saidsome 30,000 open jobs exist in the city.

A key to filling those jobs, Oyler said, is by attracting and retaining skilled workers to the area.

"We have to fill them to keep Greater Louisville’s economy growing," he said.

The current unemployment rate for the Louisville Metro area is among the lowest since at least 2007, federal data show. The rate peaked in February 2010 at nearly 12 percent.

Compared to peer cities, Louisville's unemployment rate is lower than some, including Pittsburgh (5.3 percent) and Tulsa (4.9) — yet higher than others, like Memphis (3.7) and Indianapolis (2.7).

Data show Lexington's unemployment rate at 3.1 percent and Bowling Green with 3.4 percent.

Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.