A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State unemployment rates soar in all 120 Kentucky counties due to COVID-19 pandemic


Unemployment rates soared in all 120 Kentucky counties between April 2019 and April 2020, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Clinton County recorded the lowest jobless rate in Kentucky at 8.4 percent, up from 6.4 percent in March. It was followed by Carlisle County, 8.7 percent; Cumberland County, 10.1 percent; Hickman County, 10.7 percent; Lyon County, 10.8 percent; Fulton County, 11.7 percent; Crittenden County, 11.8 percent; McLean and Pendleton counties, 11.9 percent each; and Todd County, 12 percent.

Marion County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 28.6 percent, up from 4.2 percent in March. It was followed by Magoffin County, 27.8 percent; Scott County, 21.5 percent; Mercer County, 21.3 percent; Metcalfe County, 21.1 percent; Edmonson and Lincoln counties, 20.7 percent each; Russell County, 20.6 percent; and Harlan and Lewis counties, 20.3 percent each.

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 16.1 percent for April 2020, and 14.4 percent for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was released on May 21, 2020, and can be viewed at kentucky.gov. 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 www.bls.gov.

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 kystats.ky.gov.

From Education and Workforce Development Cabinet


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