FRANKFORT — Annual unemployment rates decreased in 115 Kentucky counties in 2015 compared to 2014, stayed the same in Owsley County and rose in Magoffin, Martin, Russell and Union counties, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
The annual jobless rate for Woodford County was the lowest in the Commonwealth in 2015 at 3.6 percent. It was followed by Fayette County, 3.9 percent; Oldham County, 4 percent; Owen, Scott and Shelby counties, 4.1 percent each; Anderson, Boone and Campbell counties, 4.2 percent each; and Jessamine County, 4.3 percent.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2015 — 14.7 percent. It was followed by Russell County, 11.9 percent; Harlan County, 11.7 percent; Letcher County, 11.2 percent; Leslie County, 10.8 percent; Owsley County, 10.4 percent; Wolfe County, 10.1 percent; Carter and Elliott counties, 10 percent; and Knott County, 9.9 percent. In 2015, nine counties had annual rates at or above 10 percent compared to 19 counties in 2014.
In contrast to the monthly data national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment rate for the state was 5.4 percent for 2015, and 5.3 percent for the nation.
Counties with the largest decline in annual unemployment rates from 2014 to 2015 were Jackson County, -2.9 percentage points; Harlan County, -2.3 percentage points; McCreary County, -2.3 percentage points; Leslie County, -2.1 percentage points; and Lincoln County, -2.0 percentage points.
The four counties that recorded increases in annual unemployment rates from 2014 to 2015 were Russell County, +1.7 percent; Magoffin County, +0.7 percent; Union County; +0.5; and Martin County, +0.5 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. The statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted to allow for comparisons between United States, state and counties figures. The statistics in this news release may be revised in the future.