Annual unemployment rates decreased in 117 Kentucky counties in 2018 compared to 2017, rose in Monroe and Owen counties and stayed the same in Metcalfe, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
Whitley County’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.8 percent in 2017 to 5.0 percent in 2018.
Laurel County’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.9 percent in 2017 to 5.1 percent in 2018.
Knox County’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.6 percent in 2017 to 6.2 percent in 2018.
Bell County’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.9 percent in 2017 to 6.3 percent in 2018.
McCreary County’s unemployment rate decreased from 6.9 percent in 2017 to 6.3 percent in 2018.
The annual jobless rate for Woodford County was the lowest in the Commonwealth in 2018 at 3.1 percent. It was followed by Campbell, Fayette, Oldham and Scott counties, 3.3 percent each; Boone and Kenton counties, 3.4 percent each; Shelby County, 3.5 percent; and Anderson, Jessamine and Spencer counties, 3.6 percent each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2018 at 13.2 percent. It was followed by Elliott County, 9.3 percent; Carter County, 9.2 percent; Lewis County, 8.4 percent; Wolfe County, 7.7 percent; Menifee County, 7.6 percent; Harlan County, 7.4 percent; Breathitt County, 7.3 percent; Lawrence County, 7.2 percent; and Clay, Leslie and Owsley counties, 7.1 percent each. In 2018, Magoffin County had an annual rate at or above 10 percent compared to four (Magoffin, Elliott, Leslie and Harlan) counties in 2017.
In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment rate for the state was 4.3 percent for 2018, and 3.9 percent for the nation.
In 2018, 77 counties were above the comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment of 4.3 percent for the state, while 38 were below the state unadjusted rate and five (Grant, Green, Nelson, Taylor and Trimble counties) were the same rate.
Compared to the national unadjusted 2018 annual rate of 3.9 percent, 98 Kentucky counties had higher 2018 annual rates, while 17 were lower and five (Calloway, Henry, Logan, Madison and Simpson counties) matched it.
Counties with the largest decline in annual unemployment rates from 2017 to 2018 were Magoffin and Leslie counties, -3.1 percentage points; Letcher County, -2.9 percentage points; Harlan County, -2.6 percentage points; Lee County, -2.2 percentage points; and Perry and Carlisle counties, -2 percentage points each.
The counties that recorded the largest increases in annual unemployment rates from 2017 to 2018 were Owen County, +0.5 percentage points; and Monroe County, +0.2 percentage points.
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.
Whitley County had a civilian labor force of 13,920 people with 13,224 employed and 696 unemployed in 2018. Statewide, Kentucky had a civilian labor force of 2,061,622 people with 1,972,312 employed and 89,310 unemployed in 2018.
Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at https://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.