FRANKFORT, Ky. — Annual unemployment rates were lower in all 120 Kentucky counties in 2014 than in 2013, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
“Even though economic opportunities vary across the state, 2014 proved to be an extraordinary year with all 120 counties posting an improvement in the unemployment rate,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “The greatest improvement in percentage points was in the coal counties of eastern Kentucky. This is the first time since at least 1990 that all the counties have had a drop in the unemployment rate.”
The annual jobless rate for Woodford County was the lowest in the Commonwealth in 2014 at 4.5 percent. It was followed by Fayette and Oldham counties, 4.8 percent each; Scott and Shelby counties, 5 percent each; Owen County, 5.1 percent; Boone and Campbell counties, 5.2 percent each; and Anderson, Jessamine and Spencer counties, 5.3 percent each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2014 — 14 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 13.9 percent; Leslie County, 12.8 percent; Letcher County, 12.3 percent; Breathitt County, 11.6 percent; Clay, Elliott and Jackson counties, 11.5 percent each; Wolfe County, 11.3 percent; and Knott County, 11.2 percent. In 2014, 19 counties had annual rates at or above 10 percent compared to 36 counties in 2013.
Counties with the largest decline in annual unemployment rates from 2013 to 2014 were Leslie County, -4.9 percentage points; Letcher County, -4.4 percentage points; Knott County, -4.3 percentage points; Harlan County, -4.1 percentage points; and Perry County, -3.7 percentage points.
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 statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted to allow for comparisons between United States, state and counties figures. The statistics in this news release may be revised in the future.
A separate report issued in February showed that the unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 percent in the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) during the fourth quarter.