Bell among counties with unemployment decrease

Published 1:49 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

Unemployment rates in Bell County, along with the majority of the state, have improved over the last year. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment numbers in the county dropped nearly a percent over the past year from 6.4 percent to 5.9 percent — in April.

In May, the number increased to 6.3, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics.

The highest mark for unemployment over the past year was in January 2017, where the rate peaked at 9.5 percent.

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Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock credits President Donald Trump’s deregulation within the EPA for the statewide decline in unemployment.

“It’s obvious the Trump administration’s approach to deregulation within the EPA as it applies to coal has had a positive impact across the region,” said Brock. “Recent investments by local entrepreneurs in anticipation of the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation project coupled with SEKRI in Pineville now having 75 people working have helped as well.”

Bell County isn’t an anomaly when it comes to the decline of the unemployment rate. An article by the Associated Press states that the unemployment rate fell in all but three Kentucky counties between May 2017 and May 2018.

Owen and Spencer counties saw an increase while Oldham County stayed the same. The lowest unemployment rate within the state was Woodford County, whose rate was at 2.9 percent.

Neighboring Harlan County finished May with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates at 7.3 percent. Knox County saw an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, while Whitley County had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the region at 4.8 percent.