Caldwell County’s unemployment rate fell below 5% in June for the first time since December of last year as the economy slowly recovers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, the jobless rate dropped in all nine Pennyrile Area Development District counties from May to June, with two neighboring counties — Lyon and Crittenden — listed among that five lowest rates in the state.

Last month, the unemployment rate in Caldwell County was cut in half to 4.3% from May’s reported 8.6% The latest rate is even below the same month last year, when June 2019 saw 5.7% unemployment.

But Mike Clark, Ph.D., director of University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research, warned last week that the state’s economy is still struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic and to not read too much into the lower numbers.

“…(T)his does not indicate that Kentucky’s economy has returned to normal,” said Clark, adding that the lower unemployment “was driven primarily by a large number of unemployed workers who stopped looking for work.”

For example, Caldwell County’s civilian labor force in June 2019 was 5,586 compared with just 5,223 last month.

That means 366 fewer people were either working or looking for work in June 2020.

Unemployment rates actually fell in 82 Kentucky counties between June 2019 and June 2020, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics

Carlisle County recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Commonwealth at 3%. It was followed by Cumberland County, 3.1%; Monroe, Pendleton and Todd counties, 3.3% each; Lyon County, 3.4%; Woodford County, 3.5%; and Clinton, Crittenden, Hickman, Oldham and Washington counties, 3.6% each. Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate at 11.7%.

County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. The comparable, unadjusted unemployment rate for the state was 4.8% for June 2020, and 11.2% for the nation.