Carter County had the second highest unemployment rate in Kentucky at 7.8 percent during December, according to a report issued last week by the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Only Magoffin County had more jobless residents than Carter, achieving the state’s highest rate at 11.3 percent, the only county in double digits.

Close behind Carter in third place at the bottom was Elliott County at 7.4 percent. Lewis County followed at 7.3 percent.

Other counties in the FIVCO Area Development District included Boyd at 5.2, Greenup at 5.9 and Lawrence at 6.4.

Statewide, the unemployment rate in December was 3.8, just behind the national rate of 3.7 percent.

By comparison, Woodford had the state’s lowest rate at 2.6 percent.

Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work.

These figures do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.

We believe that many unemployed citizens in Carter County are waiting for Braidy Industries to open its aluminum mill at EastPark.

However, they will be competing with literally thousands of others for high tech, high paying jobs that won’t be available for at least two years, if Braidy finds sufficient financial backing.

Kentucky and the U.S. are experiencing their strongest economies in 20 years but that prosperity is not impacting Carter County to the same degree.

How does this happen in a county with a high performing public school system, two nearby institutions of higher education and three interchanges on I-64, a major east-west highway?

We believe it is because elected leaders of Carter County’s local governments have yet to present a united front in searching for retail/wholesale businesses or manufacturers or whatever. In our view, Carter Fiscal Court and the Grayson and Olive Hill city councils must find and combine resources to fund a professional economic development operation to secure those jobs our people need now, not in the fuzzy future.

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