State jobless rate dropped in all but three counties in 2018

Unemployment Rate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Annual unemployment rates decreased in 117 Kentucky counties in 2018 compared to 2017, rose in Monroe and Owen counties and stayed the same in Metcalfe, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The annual jobless rate for Woodford County was the lowest in the Commonwealth in 2018 at 3.1 percent. It was followed by Campbell, Fayette, Oldham and Scott counties, 3.3 percent each; Boone and Kenton counties, 3.4 percent each; Shelby County, 3.5 percent; and Anderson, Jessamine and Spencer counties, 3.6 percent each.

- Advertisement -

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2018 at 13.2 percent. It was followed by Elliott County, 9.3 percent; Carter County, 9.2 percent; Lewis County, 8.4 percent; Wolfe County, 7.7 percent; Menifee County, 7.6 percent; Harlan County, 7.4 percent; Breathitt County, 7.3 percent; Lawrence County, 7.2 percent; and Clay, Leslie and Owsley counties, 7.1 percent each. In 2018, Magoffin County had an annual rate at or above 10 percent compared to four (Magoffin, Elliott, Leslie and Harlan) counties in 2017.

In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment rate for the state was 4.3 percent for 2018, and 3.9 percent for the nation. For more information regarding seasonal fluctuations, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at

In 2018, 77 counties were above the comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment of 4.3 percent for the state, while 38 were below the state unadjusted rate and five (Grant, Green, Nelson, Taylor and Trimble counties) were the same rate.

Compared to the national unadjusted 2018 annual rate of 3.9 percent, 98 Kentucky counties had higher 2018 annual rates, while 17 were lower and five (Calloway, Henry, Logan, Madison and Simpson counties) matched it.

Counties with the largest decline in annual unemployment rates from 2017 to 2018 were Magoffin and Leslie counties, -3.1 percentage points; Letcher County, -2.9 percentage points; Harlan County, -2.6 percentage points; Lee County, -2.2 percentage points; and Perry and Carlisle counties, -2 percentage points each.

The counties that recorded the largest increases in annual unemployment rates from 2017 to 2018 were Owen County, +0.5 percentage points; and Monroe County, +0.2 percentage points.

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 news release are not seasonally adjusted to allow for comparisons between United States, state and counties figures. The statistics in this news release may be revised in the future.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at

Previous articleSchool bus involved in three-car crash, three kids taken to hospital
Next articleAG’s office to help stop human trafficking during Derby
Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.