Fulton County Judge David Gallagher, left, speaks with former Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. Gallagher, then a Democrat, is now an Independent.
Fulton County leads region and state in unemployment at 18.1%
According to one computation released by the state, Fulton County has the highest unemployment rate in the state. Other statistical data released by the state put the Eastern Kentucky counties of Letcher and Magoffin ahead of Fulton with unemployment rates of 15.8 and 16.9 respectively.
Fulton County also has the distinction of being farthest from Frankfort. The county seat, Hickman, perches precariously above the Mississippi River. It's major city, Fulton, shares Stateline Road, the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee with its sister city, South Fulton. Because of Fulton County's small available labor force of 2622, those reported unemployed at 475 pushes the percentage up. By comparison, counties with larger work forces have much larger groups of the unemployed, but smaller statisical averages. For example, Fayette County has over 9400 listed as unemployed.
The high percentage of unemployed give new businesses in Fulton County, like the new M.V. P. candle factory, which will employ 150 when fully operational, higher impact on the labor market. Should the company employ 100 Fulton Countians, the county's unemployment would drop by 22%. (For more on M. V. P., click on More below)
Since businesses in the area have a labor shed drawn from several states, including Tennessee which is literally one street away from Kentucky in Fulton County, the county may not get 100 jobs at M. V. P.
Former high school coach David Gallagher, now Fulton County Judge, is well aware that outside assistance will be needed to lift his county out of the bottom ranking on employment. Gallagher recently changed his political party registration from Democrat to Independent. It remains to be seen if this will affect Frankfort and Washington's interest in helping Fulton County out of its doldrums.