The Kentucky Center for Statistics said last week that the state’s unemployment rate in May was 4.5%.

That’s down from 10.9% a year earlier, when the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing.

The state’s labor force last month was 1.99 million — down 1,931 from April.

The number of people working was up by 3,200, while the number of unemployed dropped by 5,131.

“May showed a significant increase in the number of people employed in Kentucky,” Mike Clark the center’s director, said in a news release. “However, Kentucky’s total labor force remains low as many workers have not yet returned to the labor market. This is contributing to the state’s low unemployment rate.”

He added, “Kentucky has recovered 69% of the jobs lost when the pandemic began. However, the new jobs are often in different sectors and with different employers than the jobs that were lost.”

• The National Retail Federation says retail sales dropped 1.2% between April and May, but were up 17.3% from a year earlier when the pandemic was keeping people at home.

May sales, it said, reached $388.6 billion — the second-highest level on record, behind $414.7 billion in December.

• Kentucky BioProcessing, 3700 Airpark Drive, continues to expand.

Building permits this week show a permit for an $875,000 shipping area there.

• The state says that since January private companies have announced 50 new projects worth more than $2 billion.

Those projects, the report said, will create 4,000 full-time jobs.

Since January, private companies have announced 50 new projects totaling more than $2 billion in new investments and 4,000-plus full-time jobs that will pay an average of $23.15, not including benefits.

• If a new survey from Eagle Hill Consulting is correct, human resources workers are going to be busy this year.

The survey found that 27% of workers plan to leave their jobs this year and 29% plan to leave next year.

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