Last updated: August 26. 2014 3:16PM - 540 Views
By Kevin Halpern rhalpern@civitasmedia.com

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Harlan County has seen a significant drop in its unemployment rate in the past year. However, it’s also seen a big decline in the number of people in its workforce.

In July 2013, Harlan County had a workforce of 10,326, according to Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet statistics.

By last month, the workforce number had dropped by 720, to 9,608. A workforce represents the number of people in a county who are available for work.

Harlan County’s jobless rate for July was 14.4 percent. That’s down sharply from the 18.5 percent it was in July 2013.

The reason for the unemployment rate decline is there was not as large a drop in the number of people employed over the year as there was in the size of the available workforce.

Data shows 8,224 Harlan Countians were employed last month, compared to 8,419 in July 2013, a different of only 195.

The number of unemployed people in the county declined over the year by 525, from 1,909 to 1,384.

Much of the decline in the size of the labor workforce can be attributed to both the loss of jobs in the coal industry and the decline in the county’s population, which fell by about 800 between the 2010 census and the end of last year.

Unemployment rates fell in 108 Kentucky counties between July 2013 and July 2014, while 10 county rates increased, and two remained the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Boone County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 5.8 percent. It was followed by Caldwell County, 6 percent; Shelby and Woodford counties, 6.1 percent each; Daviess, Kenton, Oldham and Owen counties, 6.2 percent each; and Campbell and Simpson counties, 6.3 percent.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate – 15.4percent. It was followed by Jackson County, 14.6 percent; Harlan County, 14.4 percent; Leslie County, 13.3 percent; Letcher County, 13.2 percent; Knott County, 12.9 percent; Fulton County, 12.7 percent; Bell County, 12.3 percent; Clay County, 12 percent; and Wolfe County, 11.8 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

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at www.kylmi.ky.gov.

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