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Unemployment rates rise in 109 Kentucky counties in past year

From Kentucky Forward/Education and Workforce Development Cabinet -

Unemployment rates rose in 109 Kentucky counties between July 2019 and July 2020, fell in 10 and stayed the same in Carlisle County, 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 4.2 percent. It was followed by Carlisle and Pendleton counties, 4.5 percent each; Cumberland, Hancock, Shelby, Spencer and Washington counties, 4.6 percent each; and Todd and Woodford counties, 4.7 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 15.3 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 12.9 percent; Martin County, 11.1 percent; Letcher County, 11 percent; Leslie County, 10.8 percent; Breathitt County, 10.6 percent; Perry County, 9.8 percent; Floyd County, 9.7 percent; Knott County, 9.4 percent; and Carter, Clay, Elliott and Pike counties, 9 percent each. Bell County sits at 7.9 percent and Rockcastle has the lowest rate in the region of 6.7 percent.

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 6.2 percent for July 2020, and 10.5 percent for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was released on Aug. 20 and can be viewed at 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

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.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at

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