Kentucky has been generally tracking the U.S. as a whole in terms of total job growth since the last recession, but has not yet regained the jobs it lost. A recent study by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce indicates the state recovered from the 2007-2009 recession on pace with the national average. However, some key indicators show the Commonwealth could be doing better.
The Kentucky Chamber’s Senior Economic Advisor Dr. Paul Coomes, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Louisville, recently analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) to determine how Kentucky was faring in recovery from the recession. Main findings are below. Click here to download the full report
- Kentucky roughly tracked the U.S. as a whole in terms of percentage job loss during the 2008-09 recession, as well as the percentage gain in the job recovery through 2013.
- Kentucky shed 104,000 jobs in the last recession, measured from peak to trough. Since the trough in July 2009, Kentucky has added on net 65,000 jobs through March 2014.
- Among bordering states, Indiana and Tennessee have posted the strongest job growth since the recession, though they also had the largest percentage job loss during the recession.
- Seven industries accounted for almost all of the job growth in Kentucky since 2009: Employment services (primarily temporary job services); auto equipment manufacturing; state government educational services (primarily public colleges & universities); restaurants; ambulatory health care; nursing and residential care; and transportation and warehousing.
- Three industries had major decreases in employment over the last five years: Construction, coal mining, and personal dervices.
- Largely because of the industrial composition of job growth, however, Kentucky has had slow growth in average
- earnings pay per job. In 2013, Kentucky’s average pay was $46,400, compared to $55,600 nationally. Kentucky and West Virginia are by far the lowest among the border states. Kentucky has lost ground against the national average since 1979.
- Only 56 percent of Kentucky working age adults are employed, the lowest rate of any border state except West Virginia. Moving this rate up three percentage points, to the national average, would be equivalent to adding 100,000 more jobs in Kentucky.