Henderson County’s unemployment rate in January was higher than one year earlier, reflecting in part the shutdown of Patriot Coal Corp.’s two mines here.
The jobless rate in January was 8.0 percent, the same as in December, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.That bucked the recovery trend here, where unemployment rates had been slowly but steadily dropping from year to year since the low point of the Great Recession.
Patriot, which filed for bankruptcy reorganization last July, permanently closed its Freedom underground mine in eastern Henderson County last summer and shut down its adjacent Bluegrass surface mining complex at the end of last year, laying off approximately 285 people in the process.
The St. Louis-based company cited a lack of market demand last spring for shutting down the underground mine, but offered no explanation for the shutdown of the surface mine, where reclamation work continues with a small crew.
An estimated 20,965 Henderson County residents had jobs in January, while 1,814 were classified as unemployed, meaning they were out of work but had looked for a job during the preceding four weeks.
In Union County, the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in January — tied for ninth-loweest in the state — which was up from 6.5 percent in December but down from 8.1 percent in January 2012.
An estimated 6,875 Union County residents were employed while 539 were unemployed.
Webster County’s rate was 7.8 percent in January, up from 7.6 percent in December and 7.0 percent in January 2012.
An estimated 5,744 people there had jobs while 485 were unemployed.
Unemployment rates fell in 83 Kentucky counties between January 2012 and January 2013, while 33 county rates increased and four stayed the same.
Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the state at 5.9 percent while Magoffin County recorded the highest rate at 18.8 percent.
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work.