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Beshear says current unemployment rate is the lowest in state history

Gov. Andy Beshear reported that the commonwealth just posted the lowest unemployment rate in...
Gov. Andy Beshear reported that the commonwealth just posted the lowest unemployment rate in state history.(WKYT)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 10:19 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Gov. Andy Beshear reported Wednesday that the commonwealth just posted the lowest unemployment rate in state history.

According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2022 unemployment rate was 3.9%, the lowest rate ever recorded since the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics began reporting state rates in 1976.

“Kentucky’s economy is absolutely on fire, and today’s report shows that continued success is benefiting Kentuckians across the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “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.”

Beshear said the news follows a year when the state shattered every economic development record in the books, which included a record $11.2 billion in private-sector new location and expansion projects and the creation of 18,000-plus full-time jobs.

However, there’s still low workforce participation.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce officials say only 58% of the adult population is working.

“Where it is very difficult for employers to hire enough workers to meet the demand of consumers,” said Charles Aull, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The governor also says Kentucky is bringing in more tax revenue, saying that general fund receipts collected more than $1.84 billion, in reporting just last week.

The Kentucky Republican Party says Gov. Beshear is putting a spin on unemployment numbers. Spokesman Sean Southard says the labor force has 20,000 fewer people today than when Beshear was first elected and the state is dealing with numerous issues they say are from the “Biden-Beshear” economy, such as high gas prices and baby formula shortages.

Senator David Givens, R-Greensburg, says Kentucky is competing based on General Assembly actions.

“You take a look at what we did in prevailing wage, right to work, and conservative policies that make this state competitive, that is what it’s about,” Sen. Givens said.

Unemployment is down, but business leaders say the need for workers is still high.

“Workforce participation is still a really serious problem,” Aull said. “Based on recent data, we are still at 58 percent of the adult population participating in the workforce.”

Aull says it’s hard for employers to find enough workers to need the demand of consumers.

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