Counties with the highest unemployment rate in Kentucky

Written by:
September 15, 2022
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Counties with the highest unemployment rate in Kentucky

Unemployment rates, while significantly lower than the alarming pandemic peak of 14.7% experienced in April 2020, remain a subject of concern, notably as economic experts bandy around the idea of a potential recession by 2023. The last economic recession—the Great Recession of 2008-2010—sent rates up to 10% as of October 2009. It was not until the spring of 2019 that unemployment finally went down to the same level it sits at now.

As of August of this year, national unemployment is at 3.7%, 0.1% higher than in May, marking a three-month stagnation—following a steady drop since that aforementioned COVID-affected peak. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates by state demonstrate a rather sizable spectrum, ranging from just 1.8% in Minnesota, to 4.5% in New Mexico and 5.2% in the District of Columbia. Further breakdown by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows yet another county-based spectrum within each state.

To that end, Stacker compiled a list of counties with the highest unemployment rate in Kentucky using data from the BLS. Counties are ranked by unemployment rate in July 2022, which as of this writing is the most current Bureau data.

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#50. Meade County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.7%
--- 1 month change: 0.0%
--- 1 year change: -1.3%
-Total Labor Force: 11,955 (557 unemployed)
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#49. Montgomery County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.7%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 11,794 (554 unemployed)
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Dcoetzee // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Trigg County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.7%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -1.0%
-Total Labor Force: 6,169 (287 unemployed)
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No machine-readable author provided. Blinutne assumed (based on copyright claims). // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Whitley County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.7%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 14,267 (670 unemployed)
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#46. Adair County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -0.9%
-Total Labor Force: 7,071 (343 unemployed)
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#45. Grayson County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 10,441 (515 unemployed)
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#44. Livingston County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -1.3%
-Total Labor Force: 3,609 (178 unemployed)
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#43. Metcalfe County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.2%
-Total Labor Force: 3,935 (192 unemployed)
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#42. Robertson County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: +0.1%
-Total Labor Force: 819 (40 unemployed)
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#41. Wayne County

- Current Unemployment rate: 4.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.5%
--- 1 year change: -1.0%
-Total Labor Force: 7,175 (355 unemployed)
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FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Lincoln County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.0%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 9,244 (464 unemployed)
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#39. Mason County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.0%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.0%
-Total Labor Force: 6,648 (334 unemployed)
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#38. Rockcastle County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.0%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -0.6%
-Total Labor Force: 6,566 (329 unemployed)
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#37. Edmonson County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.1%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -0.5%
-Total Labor Force: 4,635 (237 unemployed)
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#36. Ohio County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.1%
--- 1 month change: 0.0%
--- 1 year change: -1.0%
-Total Labor Force: 9,111 (462 unemployed)
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#35. Bath County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.2%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 4,702 (243 unemployed)
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#34. Estill County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.2%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -0.6%
-Total Labor Force: 5,183 (269 unemployed)
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#33. Morgan County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.2%
--- 1 month change: -0.4%
--- 1 year change: -1.3%
-Total Labor Force: 4,243 (220 unemployed)
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#32. Russell County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.2%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -0.9%
-Total Labor Force: 6,172 (318 unemployed)
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#31. Ballard County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.3%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -0.2%
-Total Labor Force: 3,464 (185 unemployed)
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#30. Christian County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.4%
--- 1 month change: 0.0%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 25,195 (1,363 unemployed)
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#29. Rowan County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.4%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -0.6%
-Total Labor Force: 9,696 (524 unemployed)
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#28. Bell County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.5%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 8,142 (448 unemployed)
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#27. Boyd County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.6%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.2%
-Total Labor Force: 17,376 (981 unemployed)
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#26. McCreary County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.6%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -1.0%
-Total Labor Force: 4,751 (266 unemployed)
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#25. Fulton County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.7%
--- 1 month change: +0.7%
--- 1 year change: -1.4%
-Total Labor Force: 2,120 (121 unemployed)
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#24. Menifee County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.7%
--- 1 month change: -0.5%
--- 1 year change: -1.4%
-Total Labor Force: 2,352 (135 unemployed)
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#23. Perry County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.7%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.4%
-Total Labor Force: 7,901 (447 unemployed)
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#22. Pike County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.7%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -1.3%
-Total Labor Force: 18,984 (1,074 unemployed)
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#21. Knox County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.8%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.2%
-Total Labor Force: 10,184 (589 unemployed)
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#20. Lawrence County

- Current Unemployment rate: 5.8%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.3%
-Total Labor Force: 5,541 (320 unemployed)
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#19. Lee County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.2%
--- 1 month change: -0.5%
--- 1 year change: -0.7%
-Total Labor Force: 2,026 (125 unemployed)
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#18. Wolfe County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.3%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -0.4%
-Total Labor Force: 2,232 (141 unemployed)
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#17. Clay County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.4%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -1.4%
-Total Labor Force: 5,126 (327 unemployed)
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#16. Greenup County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.4%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -1.1%
-Total Labor Force: 13,110 (835 unemployed)
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#15. Jackson County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.4%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -0.8%
-Total Labor Force: 4,073 (262 unemployed)
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#14. Floyd County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.5%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.3%
-Total Labor Force: 10,917 (710 unemployed)
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#13. Johnson County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.5%
--- 1 month change: -0.4%
--- 1 year change: -1.5%
-Total Labor Force: 6,681 (436 unemployed)
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Megangen1990 // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Muhlenberg County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.7%
--- 1 month change: +0.1%
--- 1 year change: -0.7%
-Total Labor Force: 9,436 (628 unemployed)
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#11. Letcher County

- Current Unemployment rate: 6.8%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -1.8%
-Total Labor Force: 6,028 (410 unemployed)
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#10. Knott County

- Current Unemployment rate: 7.2%
--- 1 month change: +0.1%
--- 1 year change: -1.2%
-Total Labor Force: 4,261 (306 unemployed)
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#9. Harlan County

- Current Unemployment rate: 7.5%
--- 1 month change: -0.2%
--- 1 year change: -2.1%
-Total Labor Force: 6,569 (491 unemployed)
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#8. Lewis County

- Current Unemployment rate: 7.5%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -0.8%
-Total Labor Force: 4,756 (357 unemployed)
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Owsley County

- Current Unemployment rate: 7.5%
--- 1 month change: -0.3%
--- 1 year change: -0.2%
-Total Labor Force: 1,059 (79 unemployed)
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#6. Leslie County

- Current Unemployment rate: 7.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.1%
--- 1 year change: -0.9%
-Total Labor Force: 2,514 (199 unemployed)
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#5. Carter County

- Current Unemployment rate: 8.4%
--- 1 month change: +0.1%
--- 1 year change: +0.1%
-Total Labor Force: 9,716 (819 unemployed)
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#4. Martin County

- Current Unemployment rate: 8.8%
--- 1 month change: +0.1%
--- 1 year change: -2.1%
-Total Labor Force: 2,245 (197 unemployed)
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#3. Elliott County

- Current Unemployment rate: 8.9%
--- 1 month change: -0.7%
--- 1 year change: +0.1%
-Total Labor Force: 1,849 (165 unemployed)
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#2. Breathitt County

- Current Unemployment rate: 9.1%
--- 1 month change: 0.0%
--- 1 year change: -0.8%
-Total Labor Force: 3,210 (292 unemployed)
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#1. Magoffin County

- Current Unemployment rate: 11.2%
--- 1 month change: -0.9%
--- 1 year change: -1.9%
-Total Labor Force: 3,300 (369 unemployed)

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