Whitesburg KY
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Letcher 1 of 6 counties where jobless rate down from this time last year

Letcher County is among only six Kentucky counties where unemployment fell between October 2007 and October 2008. Letcher County is now tied with Knott County for the lowest jobless rate in the eight-county Kentucky River Area Development District.

While unemployment rates rose in 112 Kentucky counties between October 2007 and October 2008, they fell in Letcher and five other counties and stayed the same in two, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Letcher County’s jobless rate fell from 6.4 percent in October 2007 to 6.3 percent in October 2008. More importantly, the county’s current 6.3 rate is down from a jobless rate of 7.2 percent in September.

According to the Workforce Development Cabinet, 8,019 Letcher County residents had jobs in October while 537 were drawing unemployment benefits. Less populated Knott County has fewer residents with jobs, 5,654, but has the same jobless rate of 6.3 percent. Perry County’s jobless rate for October was 6.5 percent.

Neighboring Pike County, which is part of the Big Sandy Area Development District, reported the lowest jobless rate in southeastern Kentucky for October, 5.7 percent — up, however, from 5.0 percent in October 2007.

Fayette and Livingston counties recorded the lowest jobless rates in the commonwealth at 4.6 percent each. Other counties with low unemployment rates were Ballard, Warren and Woodford counties, 5 percent each; Madison County, 5.2 percent; Hancock, Jessamine and Robertson counties, 5.3 percent each, and Boyd and Greenup counties, 5.4 percent each.

Jackson County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate — 10.1 percent. It was followed by Clay County, 9.7 percent; Wolfe County, 9.3 percent; Magoffin County, 9.2 percent; Grayson and McCreary counties, 9.1 percent each; Russell County, 8.6 percent; Bell County, 8.5 percent; and Harlan, Morgan and Spencer counties, 8.3 percent each.

Besides Letcher, other counties where the jobless rates fell during the 12-month period were Harlan, Grayson, Jackson, Owsley and Webster. Rates remained the same in Martin and Menifee.

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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