unemployment

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Claims for unemployment insurance once again surged around the Ohio Valley as nearly 355,500 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia sought help last week amid the economic calamity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s in addition to the roughly 400,000 unemployment claims from the three states the previous week.

The graph below shows the unprecedented amount of weekly insurance claims for each state and the region (note that the numbers here are not cumulative). 

Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET

Just days after the White House coronavirus task force warned Americans to brace for sobering death tolls, the administration is vowing to reimburse hospitals for treating uninsured patients infected with the coronavirus.

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Claims for unemployment insurance soared around the Ohio Valley region as nearly 400,000 people in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia sought help amid the economic freeze associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The new numbers come from data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor showing more than 6.6 million unemployment claims around the country.

Labor Department figures for the week ending March 28 show Kentucky with 112,726 claims; Ohio with 272,129; and West Virginia with 14,166.

Unemployment Insurance: How It Works And How To Apply

Mar 18, 2020
Kate Howard/KYCIR

Over the span of a few days, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued orders that will grind business in Kentucky to a halt and increase quick access to unemployment benefits.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, all “public facing” businesses including entertainment, hospitality and recreational facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and hair salons will close their doors. That’s on top of the bars and restaurants that have shuttered or reduced staff as they transitioned to take out and delivery services.

As a result, many in Kentucky have already lost their income source, and many more will in the coming days. Nationwide, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have experienced a layoff or a reduction in hours due to the coronavirus, an NPR/ PBS Newshour/Marist poll found

Aaron Payne

Addiction specialists, business leaders, law enforcement officials and other community members gathered around tables at Shawnee State University to talk about two big challenges in Scioto County, Ohio: a shrinking economy and a growing addiction crisis.

The Appalachian Regional Commission brought them together as part of a listening tour to learn about connections between addiction recovery and economic recovery.


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Kentucky officials say annual unemployment rates fell in 86 of the state’s counties in 2016 compared to 2015. Annual rates rose in 26 counties and stayed the same in eight.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training says Woodford County had the state’s lowest annual jobless rate in 2016 at 3.2 percent.

It was followed by Oldham County at 3.4 percent; Fayette and Shelby counties at 3.5 percent each; and Scott County at 3.7 percent.

Officials say Magoffin County had the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2016 at 18.8 percent. It was followed by Leslie County at 13 percent; Harlan County at 12.1 percent; Letcher County at 11.9 percent; Knott County at 11.2 percent.

They say Russell County had the state’s largest drop in its annual jobless rate.

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says any extension of long-term unemployment benefits must be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere.

Long-term unemployment compensation expired on December 28. Sixty Senators, mostly Democrats, voted Tuesday to open debate on legislation that would extend the program for three months.

Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted against the procedure. In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to improve the job prospects of those looking for work.

"Yes, we should work on solutions to support those who are out of work through no fault of their own. But there is no excuse to pass unemployment insurance legislation without also finding ways to create good, stable, high-paying jobs--and also trying to find the money to pay for it," Sen. McConnell said Tuesday.

Kentucky Reports County Jobless Rates

Aug 23, 2013

Kentucky officials say unemployment rates fell in 72 of the state's counties between July 2012 and last month. They say the jobless rate rose in 42 counties and stayed the same in six.

The figures were released by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.

The report says Woodford County had the state's lowest jobless rate at 5.8%. It was followed by Fayette County at 6.4%, Oldham County at 6.5% and Scott County at 6.6%.

Harlan County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 17.2%. Next was Leslie County at 16.9%, followed by Magoffin County 16.8% and Letcher County at 16.3%.

The statewide unemployment rate was 8.5% last month.

Kentucky Unemployment Rate on the Rise

Jul 19, 2013

Huge job losses in manufacturing and several other key sectors pushed Kentucky's unemployment rate to 8.4 percent in June.

The Office of Employment and Training released the latest numbers on Thursday, showing the manufacturing sector lost 3,200 jobs in June.

The education and health services sector, another of several big losers, was down 1,500 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 1,200 jobs. The professional and business services sector shrunk by 900 jobs. And the construction sector was down 700 jobs.

Seasonal hiring bolstered the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 7,700 jobs. The arts, entertainment and recreation sector added another 1,800 jobs. And the government sector grew by 700 jobs.

A nonprofit group said Monday the number of young adults who are not in school and unemployed in Kentucky and around the nation is skyrocketing. The children's advocacy group the Annie E. Casey Foundation said in the report that U.S. youth employment rates for both 16- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds are the lowest they've been in 50 years.

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer of Kentucky is appearing at a job fair for veterans in Louisville this week. WAVE-TV reports the event will be from 9 a.m. to noon EDT Tuesday at the West Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes event is for veterans and military spouses.

An Indiana University study has found that what people studied in college had a direct effect on their chances of employment during the recession. People with degrees in health, education and biology/life sciences had the best chance of getting and holding a job in 2009 and 2010, according to the recent study by the Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business.

Temporary workers are needed for this year's Kentucky State Fair, and applications will be accepted starting Monday. The Courier-Journal says positions include maintenance staff, grounds, housekeeping, admission gate keepers, tour guides and tram drivers.

A new state-by-state analysis of the teen unemployment rate shows the youth jobless picture improving throughout our listening area. The figures look at the number of 16 to 19 year olds in each state who are actively seeking work.

Governor Beshear and the sponsors of a bill that could save employers millions of dollars in federal unemployment insurance taxes have scheduled a press conference this afternoon in Frankfort.

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