State releases annual county unemployment data for 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Links to Kentucky county unemployment rate charts and maps are above.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Apr. 19, 2021) - Annual unemployment rates increased in 119 Kentucky counties in 2020 compared to 2019, and decreased in Clinton County, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The annual jobless rate for Carlisle County was the lowest in the Commonwealth in 2020 at 4.7%. It was followed by Oldham and Todd counties, 4.8% each; Cumberland County, 4.9%; Woodford County, 5%; Clinton County, 5.1%; Pendleton County, 5.2%; Lyon County, 5.3%; and Boone, Green and Monroe counties, 5.4% each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2020 at 16.1%. It was followed by Harlan County, 11.9%; Martin County, 11.6%; Leslie County, 10.8%; Breathitt and Letcher counties, 10.2% each; Elliott County, 10.1%; Carter County, 9.6%; Lewis County, 9.5%; and Floyd County, 9.2%.

In contrast to the monthly national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment rate for the state was 6.6% for 2020, and 8.1% for the nation. For more information regarding seasonal fluctuations, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at

In 2020, 66 counties were above the comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment of 6.6% for the state, while 50 were below the state unadjusted rate and four (Ballard, Clark, Franklin and Warren counties) were the same rate.

Compared to the national unadjusted 2020 annual rate of 8.1%, 24 Kentucky counties had higher 2020 annual rates, while 96 were lower.

Clinton County had the largest decline in annual unemployment rate from 2019 to 2020 of -0.2 percentage points.

The counties that recorded the largest increases in annual unemployment rates from 2019 to 2020 were Magoffin County, +5.5 percentage points; Martin County, +4.8 percentage points; Marion County, +4.1 percentage points; and Metcalfe and Barren counties, +3.2 percentage points each.

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 statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted to allow for comparisons between United States, state and counties figures. The statistics in this news release may be revised in the future.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at

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