Russell County has one of highest unemployment rates in the area

Russell County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the area, according to a report released from the Kentucky Center for Statistics on Thursday.

Russell County reported an unemployment rate of 6.6 in December 2020, which is higher than all neighboring counties with the closest being Pulaski County at 6.3.

Check out the full map with a county-by-county breakdown.

Oldham County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3.9 percent. It was followed by Todd County, 4 percent; Logan County, 4.1 percent; Cumberland, Spencer, Washington and Woodford counties, 4.2 percent each; Shelby County, 4.3 percent; and Green and Monroe counties, 4.4 percent each.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 14.8 percent. It was followed by Harlan County, 11.3 percent; Leslie County, 9.9 percent; Carter County, 9.5 percent; Letcher County, 9.1 percent; Elliott, Johnson, Martin and Menifee counties, 9 percent each; and Lewis County, 8.8 percent.

Kentucky’s county unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted because of small sample sizes. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 5.7 percent for December 2020, and 6.5 percent for the nation.

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was released on Jan. 21, 2021, and can be viewed at In that release, Kentucky’s statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are adjusted to observe statistical trends by removing seasonal influences such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. For more information regarding seasonal fluctuations, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at

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 data should only be compared to the same month in previous years.

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.