August unemployment rates fall in every county

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Unemployment rates fell in all 120 Kentucky counties between August 2020 and August 2021 as employment slowly continues to recover from last year’s peak unemployment during the pandemic.

No county unemployment rates rose or stayed the same (Aug2021CountyCharts), according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

But overall employment still has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the state’s monthly report, Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 2.7%. It was followed by Cumberland, Shelby, and Woodford counties at 2.8% each; Carlisle, Henry, Scott, Spencer, and Washington counties, 3.0% each; and Boone, Bourbon, Taylor, and Todd counties, 3.1% each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 10.4%. It was followed by Martin County, 8.1%; Harlan County, 7.7%; Breathitt County, 7.5%; Leslie County, 6.9%; Letcher County, 6.7%; Carter County, 6.5%; Elliott County, 6.4%; Johnson County, 6.3%; and Floyd, Knott, and Lewis counties, 6.2% 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 3.7% for August 2021, and 5.3% for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted August 2021 unemployment rate was released on Sept. 16, 2021, and can be viewed at .

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

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

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