Kentucky releases county unemployment data for May; state jobless rate stands at 4.5 percent

Unemployment rates rose in 109 counties between May 2023 and May 2024 and fell in six counties and remained the same in five counties, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS).

Cumberland and Washington counties recorded the lowest jobless rates in the Commonwealth at 3.4% each. They were followed by Woodford County, 3.5%; Anderson, Marion, Shelby and Spencer counties, 3.6% each; and Carroll, Fayette and Oldham counties, 3.7% each.

Martin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 9.5%. It was followed by Magoffin County, 9.4%; Breathitt County, 8.4%; Leslie County, 7.8%; Carter County, 7.6%; Knott and Lewis counties, 7.5% each; and Clay, Elliott and Johnson counties, 7.3% 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. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 4.5% for May, and 3.7% for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted May 2024 unemployment rate was released on June 20, and can be viewed at

In that release, Kentucky’s statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are adjusted to observe statistical trends by removing seasonal influences such as weather changes, harvests, holidays, and school openings and closings. For more information regarding seasonal fluctuations, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

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 data should only be compared to the same month in previous years.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at

Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet

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