FRANKFORT, Ky. - Unemployment rates rose in 95 Kentucky counties between November 2018 and November 2019, fell in 18 and stayed the same in seven counties, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Laurel County saw a slight decrease in unemployment rates, while neighboring Whitley and Knox counties saw slight increases.

Laurel County saw a decrease as it had a 4.3 percent unemployment rate in November 2018 and fell to 4.2 percent in November 2019.

Whitley County went from having a 4.2 percent unemployment rate in November 2018 to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in November 2019.

Knox County rose from 5.1 percent to 5.4 percent in November of 2018 to 2019.

The unemployment rates followed suit from October 2019 to November 2019 with Laurel seeing a decrease and Whitley and Knox seeing an increase.

Laurel County decreased from 4.3 percent in October to 4.2 percent in November.

Whitley County increased from 4.5 percent in October to 4.8 in November.

Knox County increased from 5.2 percent in October to 5.4 percent in November.

Fayette and Oldham counties recorded the lowest jobless rates in the Commonwealth at 2.9 percent each. It was followed by Shelby County at 3 percent; Boone, Campbell, Henry and Woodford counties, 3.1 percent each; and Carroll, Jessamine, Monroe, Pendleton, Scott and Spencer counties, 3.2 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.7 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 11 percent; Leslie County, 9.7 percent; Letcher County, 8.4 percent; Lewis County, 8.3 percent; Breathitt and Martin counties, 7.2 percent; Elliott County, 7.0 percent each; Knott County, 6.9 percent; and Wolfe County, 6.8 percent.

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 3.8 percent for November 2019, and 3.3 percent for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was released on December 19, 2019, 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.

React to this story:


Recommended for you