A federal report revealed Wednesday that the City of Owensboro was the only one of 389 metropolitan areas in the United States to have an unemployment rate lower in June 2020 than June 2019.
Owensboro’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.4% in June 2019 to 4.2% in June 2020, according to the report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing unemployment rates to skyrocket across most of the country, this news came as a surprise to City leaders.
“Last month our unemployment rate was at 10% and, truthfully, I expected our unemployment rate to be at 5-6% this month,” said City Manager Nate Pagan. “I saw how low our current unemployment rate was last week, and I was surprised.”
Pagan credited the CIty of Owensboro’s diverse workforce industry for the low unemployment rate. With a variety of high-employing businesses — ranging from healthcare, to loan assistance, to manufacturing — Pagan said the City benefited from finding success in a number of different industries that hadn’t been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the same way others had.
“While being fiscally conservative and helping those in need, great things are happening in OBKY,” Mayor Tom Watson said. “The federal BLS identifying Owensboro as the only metropolitan area in the country with a lower unemployment rate in June 2020 compared to June 2019 is a meaningful acknowledgement and objective confirmation of the progress we continue to make.”
Metropolitan Statistical Areas are designated as having at least one urbanized area with a minimum population of 50,000.
According to the report, the national unemployment rate in June was 11.2 percent, not seasonally adjusted — up from 3.8 percent a year earlier.
The full report can be accessed at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/metro.pdf.