After reporting large losses in its workforce at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky's job market appears to be bouncing back.
On May 19, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state had just posted the lowest unemployment rate in its history.
According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, the state's seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate in April 2022 was 3.9 percent. This is the lowest unemployment rate that the state has posted since the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics began reporting state employment rates in 1976.
The current unemployment rate in the state is a stark contrast from unemployment rates posted in April 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down bars, restaurants and other establishments in the state. In April 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Kentucky's unemployment rate at 16.5 percent — a steep jump from 4.1 percent in March 2020 and, thus far, remains the highest unemployment rate in the state's history.
Gov. Beshear attributes the record-breaking unemployment in the state to the creation of more than 18,000 full-time jobs and lucrative economic developments — including $11.2 billion in private sector and expansion projects, according to a press release.
“Kentucky’s economy is absolutely on fire, and today’s report shows that continued success is benefiting Kentuckians across the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear says in a release. “We’ve secured our spot as a leader by establishing Kentucky as the capital for electric vehicle battery production and agritech. But even more important, we’re building a Kentucky where our people can create a better life through great jobs, world-class education opportunities, quality health care and strong infrastructure. We’re not just talking about building a better Kentucky — we’re doing it.”
Kentucky's unemployment rates closely mirror national unemployment rates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate jumped from 4.4 percent in March 2020 to 14.7 percent in April 2020. Two years later, the national unemployment rate has lowered to 3.6 percent.