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Kentucky unemployment figures rose in all but two counties from April '23 to last month

Mike Clark, the director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research, attributes at least some of the increase in the state unemployment rate to recovery from the pandemic.
University of Kentucky
Mike Clark, the director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research, attributes at least some of the increase in the state unemployment rate to recovery from the pandemic.

Unemployment rates rose in all but two of Kentucky’s 120 counties from April of last year to this April. That’s according to new figures from the Kentucky Center for Statistics. Mike Clark is the director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research. He said in April of ‘23, the state was experiencing historic low unemployment rates.

“We had a lot of people who had left labor force, you know, during the pandemic, we saw employment, improving, businesses, were still trying to hire a lot of workers. And so there's just kind of this really tight labor market. Employers were competing aggressively to find workers.”

The new figures show Woodford and Washington counties with the lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 3.2 percent, while Magoffin’s was three times higher. Clark said recovery from the pandemic is a factor in the slight increase in the state jobless rate.

“As we came out of the pandemic, demand for goods and services are really strong. Employers were trying to hire workers, and we simply didn't have as many workers around. So we had this very, very tight labor market. That tightness has eased.”

Clark attributed much of the continuing high jobless rate in several eastern Kentucky counties to coal jobs that left and weren’t replaced.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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