Carroll County unemployment rise tied to plant closing

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By Dave Taylor

Unemployment rates rose in all 120 Kentucky counties, including Carroll County, between October 2008 and October 2009.

In Carroll County, the unemployment rate for October 2009 is projected at 12.5 percent, a slight increase from the September rate of 12.4 percent. Carroll’s rate in October 2008 stood at 7.1 percent,, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

“That’s actually down from where it had been at 13 percent,” Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said. In June, the unemployment rate in Carroll County hit 13.3 percent, the highest in 2009 to date.

One reason for the rising numbers over the past few months has been the gradual closure of Arvin-Meritor, according to Tomlinson. The facility was projected to be totally nonfunctional by the end of this month, he said, but some additional orders came in that extended production for a short period of time beyond what was projected.

“They’ve been gradually letting people go,” Tomlinson said. “They have a very small crew still there, not very many at all. Once they totally close the doors we’re not going to see a significant change in the unemployment numbers.”

Carroll County’s unemployment numbers might have been higher had it not been for a federal project that has helped local governments pay for installation of emergency watershed protection measures, Tomlinson said. Several projects are underway currently in Carroll County through the Natural Resources Conservation Service which involve several contractors.

“One of those contractors is probably employing about 40 people, 90 to 95 percent of whom are local people,” Tomlinson said. “Right now the economy is still slow. This is the time of year when a number of farm-related jobs and some construction jobs see a seasonal decline anyway.”

Among neighboring counties, only Gallatin County has a higher jobless rate, with a rate of 12.8 percent in October. Gallatin jumped from 11.3 percent in September. Gallatin’s jobless rate in October 2008 was recorded at 7.2 percent.

Henry County recorded the lowest October unemployment rate of neighboring counties at 9.6 percent. The jobless rate there improved from 10.5 percent over the previous month, but is considerably above the 6.7 percent recorded in October 2008.

Owen County’s jobless rate in October was 10.4 percent, a slight increase from September’s 10.1 percent. Owen’s unemployment in October 2008 was the lowest in the area at 6.0 percent.

Trimble County, at 7.5 percent unemployment in October 2008, recorded a jobless rate of 11.1 percent last month, a slight increase from 10.9 percent in September.

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.

Some information in this article provided by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.