There is more positive news to bring you this week regarding Carter County's unemployment rate and the statewide economy.
Kentucky's statewide unemployment numbers were released this past week through May and show an impressive 4 percent seasonally adjusted jobless rate. That number was unchanged from April and continues to represent a very strong economy in the Commonwealth.
Here in Carter County the numbers are good in my view, all things considered. Through April, Carter County's unemployment rate was at 7 percent, according to Kentucky's Center for Statistics/Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Could it be better? Of course, but the fact of the matter is the numbers in Carter County were previously much higher. Just a few months ago the number was at 10.1 percent and the number has been even higher in recent years.
These issues, as I've said before, depend on your perspective. On paper 7 percent is just a number and it is higher than the majority of counties in Kentucky. If you can't find a job right now given your skill set then the number 7 percent means nothing. However, from the perspective of what job numbers look like nationwide in predominantly rural areas like Eastern Kentucky, the numbers aren't terrible. I would argue they are pretty good.
So what do they tell us? The most obvious is there is work to be had in the region. Growth at places like Smithfield Foods is certainly helping. There is also job growth in our adjoining counties in Rowan and Boyd counties and more jobs are coming -- in particular in Rowan County and at East Park Industrial Center. I'd be surprised if, over time, the numbers didn't get better.
It is also worth noting in Greenup and Boyd counties the numbers have gotten better as well. In Boyd County the rate is at 5.2 percent. That county was at 7.2 percent previously. In Greenup the number is down to 6 percent.
Statewide there are places where the numbers are, quite simply, remarkable. In Woodford and Fayette counties the numbers are 2.7 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. Astonishing. Also astonishing is the fact that the U.S. unemployment rate overall is at 3.6 percent in May 2019, matching a 49-year low.
In regards to unemployment and economic numbers these are good times. Historic times. We should all enjoy it while it lasts and work together to capitalize on securing further private sector investment in Eastern Kentucky.