State releases annual county unemployment data for 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 18, 2022) -Annual unemployment rates decreased in all 120 Kentucky counties in 2021, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.  

The annual jobless rate for Woodford County was the lowest in the commonwealth in 2021 at 3.4%. It was followed by Cumberland County, 3.5%; Oldham and Todd counties, 3.6% each; Green and Scott counties, 3.7% each; and Boone, Carlisle, Logan, and Shelby counties, 3.8% each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2021 at 12.5%. It was followed by Martin County, 9.3%; Breathitt and Harlan counties, 8.6%; Elliott County, 8.4%; Leslie County, 8.1%; Carter County, 7.8%; Letcher and Lewis counties, 7.6%; and Johnson County, 7.3%.

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 4.7% for 2021, and 5.3% for the nation. For more information regarding seasonal fluctuations, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at

In 2021, 60 counties were above the comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment of 4.7%, while 57 were below the state unadjusted rate and three (Bracken, Hardin, and Marshall counties) were the same rate.

Compared to the national unadjusted 2021 annual rate of 5.3%, 37 Kentucky counties had higher 2021 annual rates, while 78 were lower and five (Barren, Fulton, Meade, Montgomery, and Rowan counties) matched it. 

Counties with the largest decline in annual unemployment rates from 2020 to 2021 were Marion County, -3.2 percentage points, Magoffin County, -3 percentage points, Harlan and Simpson counties, -2.8 percentage points each, and Russell County, -2.6 percentage points.

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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