Unemployment rates dropped in 115 Kentucky counties, including Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties, between February 2016 and February 2017, rose in three and stayed the same in two counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Whitley County’s unemployment rate fell from 8.2 percent in February 2016 to 6.5 percent in February 2017. This was a 0.4 percent decrease from January’s rate. Whitley County tied Lincoln County with the 59th highest February unemployment rate in Kentucky.

Knox County’s unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent in February 2016 to 8.3 percent in February 2017. Knox County had the 32nd highest February unemployment rate in Kentucky. Knox County’s February unemployment rate was 0.4 percent lower than January’s unemployment rate.

Laurel County’s unemployment rate fell from 7.6 percent in February 2016 to 6.6 percent in February 2017. Laurel County tied Nicholas, McCracken and Estill counties with the 55th highest February unemployment rate in Kentucky. Laurel County’s February unemployment rate was 0.3 percent lower than January’s unemployment rate.

Among other neighboring counties, Bell County tied Ballard and Livingston counties with the 23rd highest February unemployment rate with 9.2 percent. McCreary County had the 31st highest February unemployment rate in the state with 8.4 percent.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3.5 percent. It was followed by Fayette and Oldham counties, 3.8 percent each; Scott and Shelby counties, 4 percent each; Jessamine County, 4.2 percent; Boone and Warren counties, 4.3 percent each; and Allen, Campbell and Spencer counties, 4.4 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 20.8 percent. It was followed by Elliott County, 12.5 percent; Leslie County, 11.8 percent; Carter County, 11.7 percent; Menifee County, 11.4 percent; Harlan County, 11.3 percent; Lewis and Knott counties, 11.1 percent; and Wolfe and Letcher counties, 11 percent each.

In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted.

The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 5.5 percent for February 2017, which was down from 5.9 percent in February 2016 and January 2017. The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent for the nation.

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. The statistics in this story are not seasonally adjusted because of the small sample size for each county.

Whitley County has a civilian labor force of 13,449 people with 12,575 employed and 874 unemployed. Statewide, Kentucky has a civilian labor force of 2,042,251 people with 1,929,451 employed and 112,800 unemployed.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at www.kylmi.ky.gov.