Letcher County has lost nearly one-fourth of its jobs over the last five years, statistics compiled by state government show.
According to the Kentucky Offi ce of Employment and Training, Letcher County residents held 6,258 jobs in November, down 208 jobs since this time last year, and a whopping 1,678 fewer jobs than in the same month in 2011.
Letcher County’s unemployment rate for November was 10.2 percent, up from 9.1 percent in October but down slightly from 10.4 percent in November 2014.
Letcher County’s jobless rate is now the second worst in Kentucky and the worst in the eight-county Kentucky River Area Development District. Neighboring Perry County had a 7.7 percent jobless rate for November, up from 7.0 percent in October. Knott County, another neighbor, had an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent in November, up from 8.4 percent in October.
Despite Letcher’s high rate of joblessness, the county still has more people working than any other Kentucky River District county except Perry (8,389). Knott County is a distant third in the number of residents holding jobs at 4,453.
According to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, unemployment rates fell in 92 Kentucky counties between November 2014 and November 2015, rose in 23 counties and remained the same in five.
Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3.2 percent. It was followed by Fayette, Oldham and Spencer counties, 3.6 percent each; Shelby County, 3.7 percent; Boone, Campbell, Madison and Scott counties, 3.9 percent each; and Anderson, Bullitt, Jessamine, Warren and Washington counties, 4 percent each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.6 percent. It was followed by Letcher’s 10.2 percent rate; Harlan County, 10.1 percent; Owsley County, 9.9 percent; Wolfe County, 9.7 percent; Elliott County, 9.5 percent; Leslie County, 9.4 percent; Clay County, 9.3 percent; Knott County, and Pike County, 9.1 percent.
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.