Unemployment rate increased to 6.6% in 2020

Someone completing an unemployment benefits form.

Kentucky saw an increase in the unemployment rate in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic ending the year with a 6.6% unemployment rate, up from 4.1% in 2019.

The data, from the Kentucky Department of Education and Workforce agency Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), showed the national unemployment rate jumped to 8.1% compared to 3.7% in 2019.

The number of unemployed Kentuckians for 2020 was 134,242, up 48,572 from 2019 numbers.

Employment in Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector contracted by 36,285 positions or 18% in 2020, and 1,870 jobs in the past 10 years. Most of these job losses were concentrated in the accommodation and food services, which fell by 31,312 positions or 17.6% in 2020. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector fell by 4,973 jobs or 20.7% from 2019 to 2020.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector shed 16,535 jobs or 6.6% in 2020 for a total of 235,712 positions. Over the past 10 years, manufacturing employment was up 26,563 jobs, a gain of 12.7%. Durable manufacturing lost 13,565 jobs or 8.3% from 2019 to 2020 and non-durable manufacturing lost 2,970 jobs or 3.4%.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

All 50 states experienced a statistically significant increase in their annual unemployment rates from 2019 to 2020. Kentucky’s unemployment rate for 2020 was higher than 20 states and lower than 29 states.

Find more information on the 2020 numbers here.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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