Unemployment rates fell in 90 Kentucky counties between January 2016 and January 2017, including Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties, but rose in 23 counties and stayed the same in seven counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, which is an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Whitley County’s unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent in January 2016 to 6.9 percent in January 2017. This was a 1.2 percent increase from December’s rate. Whitley County tied Union and Butler counties with the 59th highest January unemployment rate in Kentucky.

Knox County’s unemployment rate fell from 9.6 percent in January 2016 to 8.8 percent in January 2017. Knox County had the 31st highest January unemployment rate in Kentucky. Knox County’s January unemployment rate was 2.0 percent higher than December’s unemployment rate.

Laurel County’s unemployment rate fell from  7.3 percent in January 2016 to 7.0 percent in January 2017. Laurel County tied McCracken, Hickman and Nicholas counties with the 55th highest January unemployment rate in Kentucky. Laurel County’s January unemployment rate was 1.6 percent higher than December’s unemployment rate.

Among other neighboring counties, Bell County tied Martin County with the 27th highest January unemployment rate with 9.1 percent. McCreary County had the 36th highest January unemployment rate in the state with 8.4 percent.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3.6 percent. It was follorwed by Oldham County, 3.9 percent; Fayette County, 4 percent; Shelby County, 4.1 percent; Scott County, 4.4 percent; Jessamine and Spencer counties, 4.5 percent each; and Boone, Campbell and Warren counties, 4.6 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 17.9 percent. It was followed by Elliott County, 14 percent; Carter County, 12.7 percent; Wolfe County, 12.1 percent; Leslie County, 11.8 percent; Lawrence County, 11.7 percent; Menifee County, 11.5 percent; Harlan County, 11.4 percent; Lewis County, 11.3 percent; and Clay County, 10.9 percent.

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 5.8 percent for January 2017, which was down from 5.9 percent in January 2016, but up 1.3 percent from December’s rate. The unemployment rate is 5.1 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. 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 13,267 people with 12,351 employed and 916 unemployed. Statewide, Kentucky has a civilian labor force of 2,025,037 people with 1,906,904 employed and 118,133 unemployed.

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