Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said the coal industry allows Harlan County’s employment rate to remain consistent while other areas of the state may see a drastic increase in their unemployment rates.
“The coal industry help to make us immune from the economic extremes that the country as a whole is suffering,” Grieshop said. “Coal is still strong. We have probably settled into our level of employment that we are going to be at for a while.”
Grieshop added that the unemployment rates indicate that “coal producing counties are faring better in this poor economic situation than those that are non-coal producing.”
While Grieshop said he is pleased Harlan County was not included in the top 10 jobless rates, he stressed that much work is still needed.
“We are not satisfied with the numbers where they are,” he said. “We are continuing to work on improving our economic opportunities. Currently that involves getting people involved into the coal industry.”
Overall unemployment rates rose in 116 Kentucky counties between November 2007 and November 2008, fell in three counties and stayed the same in one, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
“In November 2008, Kentucky's economy continued to lose traction amid widespread employment losses. Consumers, faced with a challenging job market, soaring food prices and declining household wealth, tightened the reins on their wallets adversely affecting the trade, transportation and utilities; other services; and leisure and hospitality sectors. Weak demand for temporary help services engendered a steep decline in employment in the professional and business services sector,” said Justine Detzel, OET chief labor market analyst.
Fayette County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the commonwealth at 4.8 percent. Other counties with low unemployment rates were Woodford County, 5 percent; Oldham and Warren counties, 5.4 percent each; Jessamine County, 5.6 percent; Boyd and Scott counties, 5.7 percent each; and Boone, Franklin, Hancock and Madison counties, 5.8 percent each.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for November 2008 rose to 7 percent from October 2008’s revised 6.8 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. November 2007’s jobless rate was 5.1 percent.