By SHELLEY SMITH
Glasgow Daily Times
Barren County was among 99 counties in Kentucky where unemployment rates dropped from November 2011 to November 2012, according data recently released from the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.
The November state unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, down from 8.4 percent in October. Barren County reported a lower than state average unemployment rate at 7.4 percent for November, a nearly two percent decrease from November 2011. Manoj Shanker, economist for the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet said the data is a testament to overall nationwide improvement in the economy.
“In spite of the fiscal cliff, the economy (in Kentucky) has been steadily improving since January,” Shanker said.
He said, due to a mild winter, construction picked up early in January instead of around April when the construction season normally begins.
Out the 99 of 120 Kentucky counties, Shanker said the ones that have improved have a common factor of a diversified economy, meaning they rely on more than one industry or resource. Twenty counties reported an increase in unemployment, while one county stayed the same. According to Shanker, part of the increase in unemployment is in predominately Eastern Kentucky were most of the state’s coal is produced. Currently, coal is having a hard time competing with natural gas, which he described as an unplanned rival.
Overall in Kentucky, Shanker said retail and warehouse work has gone up because the wages have become more competitive with the two-tier union workers wage system.
For the full story, see the print or e-edition of Friday's Glasgow Daily Times.