Unemployment rates up as work force increases outpace job gains

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Unemployment Rate Image via MGN Online

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – As the coronavirus outbreak continues to hit almost every segment of the economy, unemployment rates rose in all 120 Kentucky counties between August 2019 and August 2020, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The rates (Aug 2020 County Charts)also were up from July to August, despite some employment gains in many areas. But increases in the work force, caused as more people began looking for work as benefits ran out, outpaced those gains in most counties.

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Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5 percent. It was followed by Carlisle and Cumberland counties, 5.2 percent each; Washington County, 5.4 percent; Henry, Spencer and Todd counties, 5.5 percent each; and Green, Pendleton and Shelby counties, 5.6 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 18.1 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 16.1 percent; Martin County, 13.7 percent; Letcher County, 13.3 percent; Leslie County, 12.5 percent; Breathitt County, 12.4 percent; Floyd and Perry counties, 11.5 percent; Knott County, 11.1 percent; and Johnson County, 10.8 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 7.5 percent for August 2020, and 8.5 percent for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was released on Sept. 17, 2020, and can be viewed at https://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=EducationCabinet&prId=443.

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 https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm#why.

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.