Letcher County’s unemployment rate fell to 10.3 percent at the end of October — down from 11.2 percent at the end of September — as 34 more jobs were filled here.
The state’s latest unemployment statistics, released this week by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, show that unemployment also fell a tiny bit during the 12-month period that began October 31, 2015, when Letcher County’s unemployment rate was 10.9 percent and 6,258 jobs were filled. Today, 6,312 Letcher jobs are occupied.
While the information released by the state Tuesday did not indicate what types of jobs were filled, there has been a slight increase in coal mining jobs in the area for the first time in several months. Also, a new fast-food restaurant has opened in West Whitesburg.
In terms of job numbers, Letcher County easily continues to be the second-largest player in the eightcounty Kentucky River Area Development District, as its 7,040-member labor force trails only Perry County’s 9,325-member labor force. Knott County ranks third, with a labor force totaling 4,988 members.
Meanwhile, if you’re out looking for a job in Kentucky, Woodford County is your best bet and Magoffin County is probably the hardest place to find one.
The new unemployment numbers issued this week also show that Woodford has the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 3 percent, and Magoffin the highest with 14.1 percent.
The report said that in addition to Letcher County, unemployment rates fell in 81 counties between October 2015 and 2016, rose in 33 counties and stayed the same in five counties.
In the low unemployment category, Woodford County was joined by Oldham and Shelby, 3.1 percent each; Fayette and Spencer, 3.3 percent; Warren, 3.4 percent; and Anderson, Boone, Campbell and Scott, 3.5 percent.
Magoffin’s high unemployment rate was followed by the rates of Leslie County, 11.6 percent; Harlan, 10.5 percent; Letcher (see information above); Elliott, 10.1 percent; Floyd, 9.9 percent; Pike, 9.6 percent; Knott, 9.5 percent; and Clay and Perry, 9.3 percent each.
The numbers are based on estimates, and do not include unemployed people who haven’t looked for employment in the past four weeks.
For more information about the Kentucky labor market, go to www.kylmi.ky.gov.