State’s employment numbers show continued recovery signs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Unemployment rates fell in all 120 Kentucky counties between May 2020 and May 2021, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

But that isn’t surprising since May 2020 was the height of pandemic-related restrictions in the state while last month was one of first significant months of economic reopening.

According to the state numbers (May2021CountyCharts), Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 2.8%. It was followed by Shelby and Woodford counties, 2.9% each; Cumberland, Scott and Spencer counties, 3% each; Henry and Washington counties, 3.1% each; and Boone, Bourbon, Bullitt, Taylor and Todd counties, 3.2% each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 10.2%. It was followed by Harlan County, 7.8%; Martin County, 7.7%; Breathitt County, 6.9%; Leslie County, 6.7%; Elliott, Letcher and Lewis counties, 6.4% each; and Carter, Floyd and Johnson counties, 6.1%.

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 3.9% for May 2021, and 5.5% for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted May 2021 unemployment rate was released on June 17, 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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