The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Kentucky’s economy along with the rest of the nation’s. The number of laid-off Kentucky workers seeking jobless assistance in a seven-week period has approached 700,000 — about one-third of its civilian workforce, the U.S. Labor Department said last week.
Three sources claim the Bluegrass State’s unemployment situation is worst in the nation.
And while small in overall statewide numbers, initial unemployment claims in Lyon County continued to creep up through late April.
But on Monday, Kentucky’s economy took tentative steps toward a comeback. However, there is a long way to go.
By three separate estimates, the coronavirus pandemic has given Kentucky has the worst unemployment rate in the nation.
Fitch Ratings, which issues credit opinions on governments and other borrowers, said in a report Thursday that unemployment claims as a percentage of the labor force in Kentucky have totaled about 33%, the highest among the states.
A separate analysis released Friday by the Economic Policy Institute reached a similar conclusion. It put jobless claims in Kentucky in the eight weeks ending May 2 at 32.3% of the labor force, the highest in the nation.
Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, estimated an even higher number for Kentucky, 36%, and likewise had it the highest in the country.
The Kentucky Center for Statistics, or KYSTATS, has put together a new dashboard called the County Unemployment Update. This dashboard allows users to look at initial unemployment insurance claims by county, industry, gender, race and age over time. Data are a snapshot in time two weeks after the end of each filing week.
It can be found at https://bit.ly/2yHloFT.
In Lyon County, the jump in initial claims has been significant. For the week beginning Jan. 5 of this year, five unemployment claims were filed in Lyon County, representing 0.2% of the 3,031 civilian labor force. For the week beginning April 19, the latest period for which data is available, the number of claims had jumped to 58, or 1.9% of the local labor force.
The Herald Ledger, Kentucky Health News and The Associated Press contributed to this story.