Most county jobless rates in July below July 2020, but jobs picture still cloudy

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Unemployment rates fell in 116 Kentucky counties between July 2020 and July 2021, rose in two (Owsley and Spencer), and stayed the same in two counties (Clinton and Lyon), according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Cumberland and Woodford counties recorded the lowest rates (July2021CountyCharts) in the commonwealth at 3.5% each. They were followed by Boone and Scott counties, 3.7% each; and Bourbon, Carlisle,  Fayette, Taylor, Todd and Washington counties, 3.9% each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.1%. It was followed by Martin County, 9.7%; Harlan County, 9.2%; Breathitt County, 9%; Leslie County, 8%; Elliott and Letcher counties, 7.9% each; Knott County, 7.7%; and Carter and Lewis counties, 7.6% 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 4.7% for July 2021, and 5.7% for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted July 2021 unemployment rate was released on Aug. 19, 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.

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