Madison County’s 4.9 percent jobless rate in January was one of the state’s 13 best. Madison was one of 117 Kentucky counties in which unemployment rates were improved.

Local employment totaled 42,277, an increase of 861 from January 2014, when the county jobless rate was 6.7 percent. However, those employed still numbered 512 fewer than in January 2013, when the rate was 7.2 percent.

The county labor pool, totaled 44,445, up by 40 from a year before, but 1,471 fewer than two years earlier, when the rate was 7.2 percent.

The numbers were not seasonally adjusted, the news release stated.

Improving jobless rates in recent months have been based more on a shrinking labor pool than on an increased number employed.

Woodford, at 3.9 percent, was the Kentucky county with the lowest jobless rate, followed by Fayette, 4.3 percent; Scott, 4.4 percent; Oldham and Shelby, 4.5 percent each; Jessamine, 4.7 percent; Owen and Spencer, 4.8 percent each.

Boone, Campbell, Franklin and Washington counties shared Madison’s 4.9 percent rate.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate – 15 percent. For the first time in several months, Jackson County, Madison’s neighbor to the southeast was not among the counties with the 10 worst rates.

Although 11,600 fewer people were employed statewide in January, the state’s unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent, was nearly 2 points better than a year earlier, the statistics show. That was because the number in the statewide labor pool fell by 53,465.

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually counting the number of people employed, the news release pointed out. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and the unemployed who are actively seeking work. They do not include the unemployed who have not looked for work within the previous four weeks. And, the data should be compared only to the same month in previous years, the release stated.

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