FRANKFORT, Ky. — Unemployment rates rose in 59 Kentucky counties between February 2019 and February 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, fell in 48 and stayed the same in 13 counties, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 2.9%. It was followed by Shelby County, 3%; Fayette County, 3.1%; Hancock, Marion, Scott and Woodford counties, 3.3% each; and Boone, Campbell, Jessamine and Spencer counties, 3.4% each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 16%. It was followed by Harlan County, 11.8%; Leslie County, 11.1%; Elliott County, 10.9%; Lewis County, 10.5%; Breathitt County, 10.3%; Martin County, 9.3%; Menifee County, 9.1%; Letcher County 9%; and Carter County, 8.8%.
Kentucky’s county unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted because of small sample sizes. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 4.3% for February 2020 and 3.8% for the nation.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was released on March 26, 2020, and can be viewed at https://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=EducationCabinet&prId=402. In that release, Kentucky’s statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are adjusted to observe statistical trends by removing seasonal influences such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. For more information regarding seasonal fluctuations, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm#why.
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 data should only be compared to the same month in previous years.