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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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April 23, 2018

State releases annual county unemployment data for 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 23, 2018) - Annual unemployment rates decreased in 80 Kentucky counties in 2017 compared to 2016, rose in 24 and stayed the same in 16, according to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The annual jobless rate for Woodford County was the lowest in the Commonwealth in 2017 at 3.3 percent. It was followed by Oldham County, 3.5 percent; Fayette and Shelby counties, 3.6 percent each; Scott County, 3.7 percent; Campbell, Jessamine, Monroe and Spencer counties, 3.8 percent each; and Boone County, 3.9 percent.

Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2017 at 15.7 percent. It was followed by Elliott County, 10.2 percent; Leslie County, 10.1 percent; Carter County, 9.6 percent; Harlan County, 9.4 percent; Letcher County, 9.2 percent; Wolfe County, 9 percent; Lawrence and Lewis counties, 8.9 percent each; and Menifee County, 8.7 percent. In 2017, three counties (Magoffin, Elliott and Leslie) had annual rates at or above 10 percent compared to 12 counties in 2016.

In contrast to the monthly data national and state data, unemployment statistics for counties are not seasonally adjusted.

In 2017, 73 counties were above the comparable, unadjusted annual state unemployment of 4.9 percent for the state, while 45 were below the state unadjusted rate and two (Grant and Mercer counties) were the same rate.

Compared to the national unadjusted 2017 annual rate of 4.4 percent, 91 Kentucky counties had higher 2017 annual rates, while 23 were lower and six (Calloway, Daviess, Hart, Jefferson, Logan and Nelson counties) matched it.

Counties with the largest decline in annual unemployment rates from 2016 to 2017 were Magoffin County, -3.4 percentage points; Leslie County, -3.2 percentage points; Pike County, -3 percentage points; and Floyd, Harlan, Knott and Martin counties, -2.9 percentage points each.

The counties that recorded the largest increases in annual unemployment rates from 2016 to 2017 were Hickman County, +1.4 percentage points; Carlisle and Jackson counties, +0.6 percentage points each; Bath County, +0.4 percentage points; and Fulton, Livingston, McCracken and McLean counties, +0.3 percentage points each.


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 statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted to allow for comparisons between United States, state and counties figures. The statistics in this news release may be revised in the future.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at


APRIL 21, 2018


PRESTONSBURG, KY, April 20, 2018 – In January, One East Kentucky (OEK), SOAR and AEP Kentucky Power met with communities to present a challenge.


During the 1st Quarter of 2018, each of the nine counties represented (INCLUDING LAWRENCE CO.) by OEK were to create a strategy that could positively impact their community. Participants were asked to bring all stakeholders together to create a holistic approach in support of the overall vision of OEK, SOAR and KY Power toward economic diversification.

“While OEK, SOAR and KY Power are strongly focused on specific regional strategies, it is important for our communities to be working on improvement at the local level,” said Chuck Sexton, President & CEO of One East Kentucky. “It is critical that collectively, we understand the overall vision for East Kentucky’s future while simultaneously empowering each city and county to be proactive in implementing steps to improve their competitiveness in a global economy.”

To entice participation, each community that successfully delivered a strategy presentation would receive a $1,000 grant in order to begin implementing their project. The community with the highest scoring strategy would receive an additional $25,000 to make their idea a reality. “Initiatives like this Regional Strategy Challenge are the reason we created the Kentucky Power Economic Growth Grant,” stated Jacob Colley, Manager of External Affairs for Kentucky Power. “At the end of the day, economic growth comes from great planning, and we certainly wish to encourage strategic thinking in all of the communities we serve.”

On Wednesday April 18th, communities gathered at Big Sandy Community & Technical College in Prestonsburg to deliver their strategies to Chuck Sexton, Jacob Colley and Jared Arnett, Executive Director of SOAR.

“Listening to the presentations reminded me of how important regional thinking, with local action, is to the future of Appalachia. Each of these groups stepped up with unique ideas that will have a positive impact in their community. We’re glad to partner with them in moving their communities forward,” stated Arnett.

To prepare, each community hosted visioning sessions with leaders and partner organizations over three months to build consensus from local stakeholders. They were then instructed to prepare for their presentations by delivering a strategy, implementation plan, projected budget and timeline for their project.

“From our perspective, bringing local leadership together to discuss ideas was vital to the process,” Sexton continued, “and we hope our communities do this on a regular basis regardless of what goal they wish to achieve, or what obstacle they wish to overcome.”

The presentations by communities lasted for nearly three hours as Sexton, Arnett and Colley marked notes and judged their strategies on the basis of: Alignment with Regional Organizations, Holistic Approach, Feasibility, Projected Impact, and Stakeholder Inclusion.

After deliberation, Hazard/Perry County was chosen as the recipient of the $25,000 grant. Tonita Goodwin, Executive Director of Hazard/Perry County Economic Development Alliance said upon hearing the news, “We were honored to have the opportunity to compete with our partners in the region and pleased to implement our program locally. We plan to share this strategy with other counties and work with them to help bring their ideas to fruition as well!”

Perry County’s plan is to implement Entrepreneurship and Workforce Readiness classes within their local high schools.

The goals of their strategy are to encourage students to think about starting their own company, and to be prepared for their future career working within the region. The courses would be conducted per semester for 11 weeks each, with the first half focused on understanding how to start a business with real-life examples, as well as class projects.

In addition to Hazard/Perry County, Louisa/Lawrence County, Prestonsburg/Floyd County, Knott County, Salyersville and Jackson/Breathitt County will receive the $1,000 grant for participating. “All of these communities have great ideas that we are excited about,” said Arnett. “Although we wish we could give each of them $25,000, we hope that every single one utilizes the $1,000 to kick-start their strategies and seek additional funding.”

The group plans to continue meeting quarterly to get updates on the progress of each community’s strategy and wishes to have the competition annually. ### One East Kentucky is a privately funded, non-profit regional economic development organization covering nine counties.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Charles Sexton at 606-886-7333 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


April 17, 2018



FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 17, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin today filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court to disqualify Attorney General Andy Beshear and his office from the political lawsuit filed last week against Kentucky’s recently enacted pension reform law (Senate Bill 151).

Beshear and Bevin shaking hands during a recent session. file photoBeshear and Bevin shaking hands during a recent session. file photo

Today’s filing lays out significant evidence that Beshear provided legal advice to the Commonwealth (his client) regarding SB 151, thereby violating the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern all attorneys.

“Conflicts of interest do not disappear simply because the Attorney General says they do,” said Steve Pitt, general counsel for Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky has adopted strict rules regarding conflicts for its attorneys. The Attorney General’s suit violates these rules, and this Court must disqualify him and his office from this action to protect the integrity of the judicial system.”

Acting in his capacity as Kentucky’s “chief law enforcement officer,” AG Beshear provided legal advice to the duly elected representatives of the people of the Commonwealth — i.e., members of the General Assembly. Conflicts of interest created by AG Beshear include the following:

• drafting and sending a legal memorandum to the General Assembly (his clients) eight days after the original pension proposal (SB 1) was filed,
• drafting and sending another legal memorandum to the General Assembly (his clients) a short time later, and
• meeting with House and Senate Democratic leaders (a subset of his clients) “to discuss legal options” one day following passage of SB 151. 


State legislators followed some of AG Beshear’s legal advice in arriving at their final pension bill, passed as SB 151 on March 29.
Gov. Bevin’s motion argues that the Office of the Attorney General must be disqualified from prosecuting its case because of these conflicts. The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit AG Beshear from suing the Commonwealth and its legislative leaders regarding SB 151 because he has already provided legal advice to them regarding these exact issues.

To download a copy of today’s filing, please click here.