Unemployment rates began to drop in May as businesses began to reopen from the shutdown that began in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

All five area counties saw decreases in May from April.

But all remained well above the 2019 rates.

Daviess County was at 10.2% in May — down from 14.9% in April, but up from 3.8% in May 2019.

Hancock’s rate was 14% — down from 17.4% in April, but up from 3.7% a year earlier.

McLean saw an 8.1% rate in May — down from 12.4% in April, but up from 4.4% a year ago.

Muhlenberg was at 11.9% — down from 16.1%, but up from 5.8% in May 2019.

And Ohio saw a 10.3% rate — down from 14.5%, but up from 4.8% a year ago.

Carlisle had the state’s lowest rate at 5.4%.

Magoffin had the highest at 20.5%.

Kentucky’s statewide rate was 10.9% and the nation was at 13%.

• The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that in 2018, Daviess County had 2,309 businesses that employed 41,233 people and had a payroll of $1.64 billion a year.

• In April, Shannon De Lozier opened Southern Comforts at the Campbell Club, a restaurant featuring Southern-style cooking.

The business was takeout-only because of the pandemic.

Last week, De Lozier announced on her Facebook page, “I have been forced out of my restaurant and I am truly sorry I couldn’t open and follow through with all my plans of reconnecting The Campbell Club and ALL of Owensboro.”

She added, “Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives during an unprecedented time in our history. I’m beyond normal emotions of sadness and loss, but I plan on continuing to be Southern Comforts and I hope to still be able to feed you all...just from a different location.”

• On the good news side: Byron Westerfield, his son, Paul, and Paul’s wife, Lauren, have bought the Great American Cookie Co. location in Towne Square Mall from the Texas franchisee who owned it.

“We’re real excited about this,” Byron Westerfield said. “A lot of stores have left the mall, but we’re excited about being here.”

He said Great American Cookie was one of the original stores in the mall.

“We offer 30 different toppings,” Westerfield said, “including a new blueberry muffin. But we’re best known for our cookie cakes.”

The business will open as soon as the cookie dough arrives this week, he said.

• GNC filed for bankruptcy protection last week, saying it plans to close at least 800 to 1,200 of its 7,300 stores.

• AAA predicts that Americans will take 700 million trips this summer.

That number is down nearly 15% from last summer and represents the first decline in summer travel since 2009.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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