The local jobless rate fell again from April to May as the economy continues to reopen. The latest figures place Lyon County with the fourth lowest unemployment rate among Kentucky’s 120 counties.

“The local businesses have been exceptional at doing all they could to keep people employed and their business open,” said Judge-Executive Wade White. “I’m very impressed how well Lyon County businesses have pushed through this very difficult time and how low our (coronavirus) numbers really are currently.”

Lyon County for May recorded a 6.7% jobless rate, down from 11.3% in April, which moved the county up a notch in the ranking of healthiest employment numbers. Only Carlisle (5.4%), Hickman (6.4%) and Clinton (6.5%) counties had lower unemployment rates for the fifth month of 2020.

Since the pandemic began, Lyon County has reported 21 positive cases of COVID-19, with three deaths. Eight of the cases, including two of the deaths, were from one long-term care facility, however.

“The low infection rates in Lyon County are indicative of an immediate and comprehensive response to the threat of COVID-19,” said Lake Barkley Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Amanda Davenport. “Our local leaders were timely in their response to shut down the community before the virus could spread uncontrollably.”

The Kentucky & Workforce Development Cabinet on Thursday released May unemployment numbers for all counties. The unemployment rate statewide was at 10.9% in May, down from 16.2% in April. The comparable nationwide rate was 13% in May.

Overall, the economy in western Kentucky appears to be faring better than the rest of the state and country during the COVID-19 outbreak and related shutdown.

Caldwell County had an unemployment rate of 8.5% in May, down from 14.6% in April. Trigg County’s rate fell from 17.1% to 10%, while Crittenden County had a rate of 7.5%, down from 11.8% in April. The rate in Livingston County dropped from 15.4% in April to 11.2% in May. Marshall County’s rate fell to 8.9% from 13.9% the month before.

Deb Domke, executive director of Lake Barkley Chamber of Commerce, said the nature of Lyon County’s employment, including about 600 who work at the county’s two Kentucky Department of Corrections facilities, has helped keep the jobless rate down.

“A great number of our businesses here were deemed essential and the businesses that were not did an excellent job of becoming creative in serving the public,” she said. “For example, most of our restaurants were able to retain a good number of their employees by serving their customers through drive-thru and curbside pickup.”

Davenport agrees.

“Our businesses were innovative in adapting to a new normal to ensure they could keep both their employees and customers safe,” she added. “Our businesses have done everything possible to continue serving customers safely and that has paid off by allowing businesses to not only remain open but also retain their workforce without layoffs.”

For Lyon and its surrounding counties, however, the May 2020 jobless rate was far above the same month for 2019 when the nation was not contending with a shutdown from a pandemic. The May 2019 jobless rate in Lyon County was only 4.3%.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate in May 2020 at 20.5%.