New graduates are joining the job hunt. Avoid Kentucky, new ranking of states says

New study says Kentucky is one of the worst states to find a job.
New study says Kentucky is one of the worst states to find a job. Getty Images

As the national unemployment rate continues to decline, a newly released analysis shows Kentucky is one of the worst states to find jobs.

Kentucky is the third-worst state for jobs, ahead of Mississippi and West Virginia, according to's latest study. For its analysis, the website compared the 50 states across 29 key indicators of a healthy economy, job-market strength and opportunity. The data used by the personal finance company and website was collected from organizations and government agencies, including the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Pew Charitable Trust.

The 10 best states to find a job were Washington, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Vermont, Massachusetts, Florida and Texas, according to WalletHub.

Ranking places to work is especially important, as employers plan to hire 4 percent more members from the Class of 2018 than last year's graduating class, WalletHub said.

So why is the commonwealth, which has some of the nation's largest employers, including United Parcel Service, Ford Motor Company and GE Appliances, so bad for job seekers?

Kentucky got its lowest marks for its economic environment, and ranked last in the country in the WalletHub study. For that ranking, the organization looked at annual income, starting salaries, workers living in poverty, work week length, commute time and income taxes paid. It got decent marks in commute time for which it ranked 16th in the country.

A study released in March shows Kentucky has one of the lowest rates of personal-income growth from 2016 to 2017. The commonwealth ranked 40th in median annual income (adjusted for cost of living) in the country, according to WalletHub. Kentucky was fairly moderate in its monthly average starting salary, ranking 27th out of 50.

In other categories considered, Kentucky's unemployment rate and job opportunities (number of job openings per total population in labor force) ranked in the bottom 10 of all states.

Even though it didn't compare favorably to other states, Kentucky's unemployment rate as of March was at 4 percent, down from 5.2 percent a year earlier, according to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Unemployment in Kentucky is at the lowest rate ever recorded in 42 years of record keeping.

Between April 2017 and April 2018, the unemployment rates in all 120 Kentucky counties fell. However, employment in education and health services has declined by 1,100 jobs since March 2017.

The newest study looks at the state as a whole, but its two biggest cities also have problems. In its January study of the best cities to find a job, WalletHub said Lexington and Louisville ranked in the bottom half of the 182 cities it compared.