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Unemployment Rate in NKY Counties Hits Double Figures

The unemployment rate in all Northern Kentucky counties rose to double figures, and in most cases more than tripled the rate in March, the state's Education & Workforce Development Cabinet announced Thursday.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic impact resulted in a record number of workers across the state filing for unemployment benefits.

The rate went up in all 120 Kentucky counties when compared to last April.

For the purpose of such data, the state considers Northern Kentucky counties to be Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen, and Pendleton.

The highest unemployment rate is found in Grant at 18.3 percent. 2,184 people in that county filed for unemployment in April.

15.1 percent of workers, or 781, filed in Owen County.

Gallatin had the third-highest at 14.1 percent, or 558 unemployed workers.

Kenton County, the region's most populous and third-most populous in the state, saw an unemployment rate of 13.8 percent, or 11,724 workers. That was up from 4.4 percent in March.

In Boone County, the rate was reported as 13.1 percent, or 8,940. The rate in March was 4.2 percent.

In Campbell County, the rate was reported as 13.7 percent, or 6,716 workers. The rate in March was 4.4 percent.

Carroll Co.'s unemployment rate was 12.8 percent while Pendleton County reported the lowest number for Northern Kentucky at 11.9 percent.

The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the number of civilian labor force (CLF).

The CLF is typically described as an estimate of all civilian non-institutionalized people over the age of 16 who are employed, or unemployed and looking for work. The unemployment rate for the entire region was 13.7 percent compared to 4.4 percent a month earlier. More than 235,000 people are classified as CLF and more than 32,000 were counted as unemployed.

The state's unemployment rate for April was 16.1 percent compared to 14.4 percent nationally.

Marion County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 28.6 percent.

On Thursday, Deputy Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Josh Benton announced that more than 15,000 March and April pending unemployment claims were processed this week.

“We are putting our most seasoned staff on the most difficult claims,” Benton said.

He also explained what it means when a claim is “under investigation.”

“That simply means that there’s something missing or a piece of information that is inaccurate that has to be investigated and reviewed in their claim before a determination can be made,” said Benton.

Finally, he updated Kentuckians on a security incident that took place in the unemployment insurance system and the actions taken to address it.

A potential vulnerability in the online Unemployment Insurance Portal was reported to the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Office of Technology Services (OTS) on April 23 at 9:17 a.m. 

According to the report, some unemployment insurance (UI) claimants could have been able to view the identity verification documents uploaded by other UI claimants. To date, no reports of identity theft or financial harm have been received.

“OTS prevented any further incidents by taking the UI Portal completely offline at 11:30 a.m. By noon, OTS had changed the system to ensure no one was able to view any uploaded documents,” said Benton. “By midnight, the security team had patched the software to correct the problem permanently.”

While the Governor’s Office of General Counsel has been told the breach has been corrected, the governor is concerned with the situation and asked the Transportation Cabinet inspector general – who is independent from the Education Cabinet – to conduct a full review. The governor is also reorganizing the office, which will soon be under the Labor Cabinet, and bringing in new leadership.

“It is time for better results,” the governor said.

-Staff report