REPORT: Jobless rates down in 91 Ky. counties - WDRB 41 Louisville News

REPORT: Jobless rates down in 91 Ky. counties

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Unemployment rates fell in 91 Kentucky counties Feb. 2012 and Feb. 2013, according to a news release from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

At the same time, unemployment rates increased in 26 counties, and stayed the same in three counties, the release states.

Woodford County reported the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5.9 percent. It was followed by Fayette County at 6.5 percent, Oldham County at 6.6 percent, Madison County at 6.8 percent, Franklin and Shelby counties at 6.9 percent each, Scott and Warren counties at 7 percent each, Daviess County at 7.1 percent and Union County at 7.2 percent.

Manoj Shanker, an economist for the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, says these counties have an economic advantage over many other counties because of their close proximity to interstates and other factors.

"It's location, location, location," he said. "When demand picks up, those are the ones that are going to be near the markets."

Magoffin County recorded the state's highest unemployment rate at 18.9 percent. It was followed by Leslie County at 17.3 percent, Letcher County at 16.9 percent, Harlan County at 16.3 percent, Fulton County at 15.9 percent, Knott County at 15.6 percent, Bell County at 15.2 percent, Menifee County at 15.1 percent, Jackson County at 14.9 percent and McCreary County at 14.6 percent.

Shanker attributes these high unemployment numbers to the fact that many of these counties focus solely on the coal industry as their jobs / revenue source -- and industry he says is facing steep competition from other energy sources.

"They're not diverse enough. They're relying mostly on one resource for employment," he said.
"They haven't really participated in the recovery."

Shanker paints a pictures of a slow-but-steady economic recovery that began in January and is moving across most of the state. He says he favors this type of recovery over a rapid, "spectacular" recovery, since it appears to be more stable.

"Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working," the release states. "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 because of the small sample size for each county. The data should only be compared to the same month in previous years."

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