The jobless rate continues to fall in Lyon County even as the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has ground to a slow creep locally.
Monthly statistics released last week by the Kentucky Center for Statistics show the June 2020 unemployment rate in Lyon County at 3.4%, fourth lowest in the state and a decline from 6.7% the month prior. The county has ranked among the best five counties for unemployment since April.
Despite the economic revival, the spread of coronavirus in Lyon County has slowed dramatically, with only eight new cases in the last month, fewest in the five-county Pennyrile Health District. Meantime, case numbers and deaths have reportedly exploded across the state and nation.
Wade White, the county’s judge-executive, said locals appear “wise, but not paralyzed” as the economy reopens amid the worst pandemic in a century.
“I’m so happy that Lyon County is still at the top of the list for unemployment. It shows our people are willing and wanting to go back to work,” he said. “I know some people have been against Lyon County opening up to huge crowds of visitors, but this is what we do in Lyon County.”
In fact, no county’s economy in Kentucky is more dependent upon tourism than Lyon County’s.
“We are an outdoor community and people are using common sense to keep from spreading this virus, and it seems to be working,” White said Friday, before two new cases were reported Monday, including one death, to bring the total to 28 cases since the pandemic arrived in Kentucky March 6. “So far I believe what Lyon County is doing is working.”
Monday’s reported death appears to have been inside Kentucky State Penitentiary, and two of the other three local deaths were from a local nursing home. In fact, the majority of cases reported in Lyon County have been from either the prison or nursing home.
“I ask everyone to continue working and heeding the suggestions of how not to spread this virus,” the judge-executive added. “I also believe the great American medical community (is) on the heels of solving this problem for us.”
Meantime, unemployment rates fell in 82 Kentucky counties between June 2019 and June 2020, including all those surrounding Lyon County. However, some economists have suggested the lower unemployment rates are because many people have stopped looking for work and are no longer counted among the labor force.
In June 2019, when Lyon County’s jobless rate was 4.9%, the civilian labor force was numbered at 3,354 strong with 164 people out of work. Last month, the labor force was 2,925 with 99 residents looking for work. That is a 12.8% decline in the local workforce.
Elsewhere, Carlisle County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth last month at 3%, while Magoffin County reported the state’s highest unemployment rate at 11.7%.
Kentucky’s county unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted because of small sample sizes.