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Harlan second highest in unemployment for June

Harlan County has the second highest unemployment rate in Kentucky, charting its annual jobless rate at 9 percent, after the state released its quarterly county unemployment data for June.

According to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, statewide unemployment fell at 4.8 percent, the same as in June 2019.

Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said because of the COVID-19 pandemic, his office assisted more than 200 people in receiving unemployment benefits or helping them fill out the appropriate paperwork.

Mosley said since May, when the state reported roughly 15 percent of Harlan Countians were out of work, most of them have been able to return to work or find a new job. Statistics now show approximately 537 jobseekers are still left without work.

“Short term, getting businesses back up and running will strongly benefit lowering the unemployment rate,” he said. “Long term, we’re going to keep marketing our skilled workforce and the build-ready site we have available in Cumberland.”

The Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, also charted Harlan’s neighboring county’s unemployment rates for June, including Bell (5.7 percent), Letcher (7.5 percent), Perry (6.9 percent) and Leslie (7.7 percent) counties.

In May, however, each county’s unemployment rate was substantially higher as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to place a strain on jobs: Harlan (15 percent); Bell (9.9 percent); Letcher (12.9 percent); Perry (12 percent); Leslie (13.6 percent). The state’s average was said to be 10.7 percent during this time.

According to KYSTATS’ data, the jobless rate for Carlisle County (3 percent) was the lowest in the commonwealth. It was followed by Cumberland County (3.1 percent), Monroe, Pendleton and Todd counties (3.3 percent each), Lyon County (3.4 percent), Woodford County (3.5 percent) and Clinton, Crittenden, Hickman, Oldham and Washington counties (3.6 percent each).

Magoffin County (11.7 percent) recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate for June. It was followed by Harlan County (9 percent), Martin County (8.2 percent), Leslie County (7.7 percent), Breathitt and Letcher counties (7.5 percent each), Elliott County (7 percent) and Carter, Floyd and Perry counties (6.9 percent each).

“Kentucky’s county unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted because of small sample sizes. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings,” read a KYSTATS release. “Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 4.8 percent for June 2020, and 11.2 percent for the nation.”

To view each county’s unemployment data, go to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet website.