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Jobless rate stays same, number working grows

Letcher County’s unemployment rate remained at 13.5 percent in October despite the fact that eight more persons held jobs here than the month before.

According to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, 8,192 jobs were filled in Letcher County in October, up from 8,184 in September. However, 1,275 Letcher residents were drawing unemployment benefits or actively seeking work in October, up from 1,274 in September.

Surprisingly, the state’s statistics show that despite the massive layoffs affecting the coal industry, there are still more jobs being filled in Letcher County now than two years ago. In November 2010, when the jobless rate here was 10.7 percent, 7,726 employees went to work in Letcher County — 466 fewer than today.

The spike in unemployment between October 2012 and November 2010 apparently is the result of an additional 351 persons, most of them laid-off miners who had jobs in other counties, joining the ranks of the unemployed. In November 2010, the number of unemployed in Letcher was listed at 929.

Statewide in October, Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5.6 percent. It was followed by Scott County, 6 percent ; Fayette, Shelby and Union counties, 6.2 percent each; Oldham County, 6.3 percent; Franklin and Madison counties, 6.4 percent each; Larue County, 6.5 percent; and Bracken, Caldwell, Jessamine, Owen and Webster counties, 6.6 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate — 15.5 percent. It was followed by Fulton County, 14.7 percent ; Knott and Letcher counties, 13.5 percent each; Leslie County, 13.4 percent; Bell, Harlan and Jackson counties, 13 percent; and Perry and Wolfe counties, 12.4 percent each.

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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