Kentucky jobless rate highest in 26 years

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New numbers show we’re coming off the worst year for unemployment in more than a quarter of a century. For 2009, Kentucky had a 10.5 percent unemployment rate, which is the worst since 1983. That 10.5 percent rate for Kentucky represents a huge surge from just 6.6 percent a year earlier, and it marks the second consecutive year that Kentucky has lost jobs.

There shouldn't be any shame in it, but many of the unemployed who spend their days at government offices trying to find work don't want to talk about it. For others, only a first name is offered. “It's just taken my pride and everything else -- my guts and everything and just rammed it right down my throat,” an unemployed worker known only as Frank said.

Record-setting unemployment has hit workers across the country, and in Kentucky, the 10.5 percent jobless rate places bluegrass workers among some of the worst affected in the nation.

Tammy Thomas-Modra with the Office of Employment and Training is one of the people struggling to help unemployed workers get back on their feet. “We have W.I.A., which is the Workforce Investment Act that has additional monies that help people that are unemployed, underemployed, or not able to find a job based on their marketable skills. 16.46 that can help them be retrained or get a certification to go back to school,” Thomas-Modra said.

Jobless workers’ frustration can be overwhelming, but unemployment counselors urge people to use the tools and resources available to keep their search going.

While most sectors of the state's economy lost jobs over the last year, one exception was educational and health services where institutions like hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities added 3000 jobs last year.

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