FRANKFORT, Ky. - When comparing county unemployment rates from the month of March to where they were during this time last year, data from the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, shows that Laurel County is the only county within the Tri-County area that has seen a decreased rate.
For the month of March, Laurel County had an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. This figure is down from last March’s rate of 5.3 percent. Laurel County’s current rate is slightly higher than what it was in February, 4.8 percent, but lower than January’s rate of 5 percent. In January 2020, Laurel County had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent.
Unemployment rates in Knox County have risen with March’s rate coming in at 6.8 percent, 1 percent more than last year’s rate of 5.8 percent in March 2020. In January of this year, Knox County’s rate was 6.7 percent. That rate dropped to 6.6 percent in February, but has now moved in the opposite direction for March. Knox County’s unemployment rate in January 2020 was 6.3 percent.
Whitley County’s rate is exactly the same as last March’s rate, 5.4 percent. February 2021’s rate was also 5.4 percent, while in January of this year the rate was 5.6 percent. In January 2020, Whitley County’s rate was 5.5 percent.
When looking at the commonwealth as a whole, unemployment rates fell in 81 Kentucky counties between March 2020 and March 2021, rose in 31, and stayed the same in eight counties.
Oldham, Todd and Woodford counties recorded the lowest jobless rates in the Commonwealth at percent each. They were followed by Logan, Shelby, Spencer and Washington counties, 3.9 percent each; and Green, Scott and Taylor counties, 4 percent each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 13.6 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 9.4 percent; Martin County, 9.3 percent; Breathitt County, 8.6 percent; Leslie County, 8.5 percent; Carter, Lewis and Menifee counties, 8.4 percent; Elliott County, 8.3 percent; and Johnson County, 8 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 5 percent for March 2021, and 6.2 percent for the nation.