State’s Unemployment Rate at Record Low

Kentucky’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low of 3.8%. The rate decreased from 3.9% in May. “We have the fewest number of Kentuckians on unemployment since May 2000,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Thursday afternoon news conference. “Kentucky’s economy is surging, and we’re creating quality jobs for people across the commonwealth.”

House Speaker David Osborne (R-Prospect) said the announcement is the result of hard work, difficult decision-making, and the forward-thinking leadership of legislators. “Make no mistake, the fact that the state’s unemployment rate has fallen to a 46-year low is proof that the pro-worker, pro-job policies enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly are indeed working,” Osborne said.

The governor announced four economic development projects totaling $70 million that will create 525 jobs. The largest, Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP), involves rebuilding the candle factory destroyed by December’s tornadoes. The company plans a $31 million expansion of a $2.3 million facility already under construction at the Hickory Industrial Park.

The company plans to employ more than 500 full-time workers after the expansion. Mayfield Mayor and KLC Board Member Kathy O’Nan touted the company’s resiliency. “This expansion is just one of many steps in the process of economic healing as our community moves forward in building back better than we were prior to the devastating tornado of December 2021.”

While the unemployment rate has hit a record low, the commonwealth’s labor force still has not reached pre-pandemic levels. If the current number of adults in the labor force matched the January 2019 figure, the state’s unemployment rate would equal 4.25%. The unemployment rate calculation excludes individuals who are neither employed nor seeking employment.

Unemployment affects each region differently. Fourteen western, central, and northern Kentucky counties had unemployment rates of 3% or lower in May 2022. Ten eastern Kentucky counties have unemployment rates greater than 6%, which includes one (Magoffin) with a May rate of 10.9%.