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Jobless rate falls as more get work

Letcher County’s unemployment rate fell slightly between February and March after 38 more residents found jobs.

The additional jobs lowered the county’s unemployment rate from 7.6 percent in February to 7 percent in March, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet.

Statistics released Tuesday show that 7,991 Letcher County residents held jobs in March, up from 7,953 in February. Letcher’s latest unemployment rate is the second-lowest (tying with Knott County) in the eight-county Kentucky River Area Development District. Perry County, with a 6.6 percent jobless rate, has the lowest jobless rate among the KRADD counties, while Wolfe County’s 10.6 percent rate is the highest.

The latest statistics also show that Letcher is one of 31 Kentucky counties where the unemployment rate fell between March 2007, when the rate was 8.5 percent here, and March 2008. Jobless rates rose in 86 counties during the same period and remained the same in three counties.

Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 4.2 percent. Other counties with low unemployment rates were Fayette County, 4.4 percent; Oldham, Shelby and Warren counties, 4.9 percent each; Scott County, 5 percent; Daviess County, 5.1 percent; Jessamine and Madison counties, 5.2 percent each; and Boone, McCracken and Mason counties, 5.3 percent each.

Jackson County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate – 12.3 percent. It was followed by Menifee County, 10.9 percent; Magoffin County, 10.8 percent; Clay and Morgan counties, 10.7 percent each; Wolfe County, 10.6 percent; Lewis County, 10.2 percent; Grayson and McCreary counties, 9.9 percent each; and Bath County, 9.8 percent.

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.

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