Unemployment rates fell in 74 Kentucky counties between May 2016 and May 2017, including Whitley and Laurel counties, rose in 28 and stayed the same in 18 counties, including Knox County, 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 6.3 percent in May 2016 to 5.8 percent in May 2017. This was identical to April’s rate. Whitley County tied Ohio and Union counties with the 41st highest May unemployment rate in Kentucky.
Laurel County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent in May 2016 to 5.7 percent in May 2017. Laurel County tied Mason, Montgomery and Graves counties with the 44th highest May unemployment rate. Laurel County’s May unemployment rate was 0.2 percent lower than April’s unemployment rate.
Knox County’s unemployment rate stayed at 7.6 percent between May 2016 and May 2017. Knox County had the 23rd highest May unemployment rate in Kentucky. Knox County’s May unemployment rate was 0.2 percent higher than April’s unemployment rate.
Among other neighboring counties, Bell County had the 18th highest May unemployment rate with 8.1 percent. McCreary County tied Muhlenberg County with the 35th highest May unemployment rate in the state with 6.5 percent.
Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3 percent. It was followed by Oldham County, 3.3 percent; Shelby County, 3.4 percent; Fayette and Spencer counties, 3.5 percent each; Jessamine, Scott, Warren and Washington counties, 3.6 percent each; and Boone and Campbell counties, 3.7 percent each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 16.6 percent. It was followed by Leslie County, 9.9 percent; Elliott County, 9.8 percent; Letcher County, 9.7 percent; Harlan County, 9.5 percent; Carter County, 8.8 percent; Lawrence County, 8.6 percent; Breathitt and Perry counties, 8.5 percent each; and Floyd, Knott and Pike counties, 8.4 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 4.7 percent for May 2017, and 4.1 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.
Whitley County has a civilian labor force of 13,611 people with 12,823 employed and 788 unemployed. Statewide, Kentucky has a civilian labor force of 2,077,060 people with 1,979,651 employed and 97,409 unemployed.
Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at www.kylmi.ky.gov.