Even with more working, jobless rates up slightly

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The jobless rate increased in January in 94 of the state’s 120 counties but in some cases the rate increased compared to January of last year because the growth in the work force outpaced the number of new jobs created.

According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the rate fell in 21 counties and remained the same in the remaining five.

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Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate at 3.3 percent. Several other counties in the region, including Shelby County, at 3.4 percent; Fayette and Woodford at 3.5 percent each; Boone, Scott and Spencer counties at 3.8 percent each; and Campbell, Hancock, Jessamine and Marion counties at 3.9 percent each were not far behind.

Several of those were examples where more people were working than in January 2019, but the rate still increased because more people also were looking for work.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 14.8 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 12.4 percent; Leslie County, 11.9 percent; Elliott County, 11.3 percent; Breathitt County, 10.9 percent; Lewis County, 10.8 percent; Carter County, 10 percent; Letcher County, 9.4 percent; and Menifee and Wolfe counties, 9.1 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 4.8 percent for January 2020, and 4.0 percent for the nation.

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.