Kentucky Chamber reports on state’s 2014 economic performance

Job growth in three Kentucky regions surpassing national average

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has released a report on the state’s economic conditions, with detailed county-by-county employment data and summaries of the nine economic regions of the state. The study, conducted by Dr. Paul Coomes, the Chamber’s senior economic advisor, looks at the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on job and payroll growth since the bottom of the 2008-09 national recession. Download the full report here.

“This report shows how the various economic regions of Kentucky have performed over the past five years,” said Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson. “Paul Coomes has organized county-level data into nine economic regions in Kentucky, and reveals how several are expanding while a couple are shrinking.”

The data provides specific information about the following regions – Lexington, Mountains, Cumberland, Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, Paducah-Purchase, Owensboro-Henderson, Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Ashland. The data also includes organized job and payroll data by county and bordering state, and includes tables and charts that summarize recent economic growth.

Key Findings:

  • The Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green-Hopkinsville regions had the highest growth rates in total jobs, surpassing the national average. The Mountain and Ashland areas have fewer jobs than they did five years ago.
  • The Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Bowling Green-Hopkinsville regions led the way in growth of manufacturing jobs. The Paducah-Purchase region has lost manufacturing jobs.
  • In terms of wages and salaries, four of the regions grew by 17 percent or more. However, payrolls declined in the Mountain region by 11 percent; the Ashland region grew by only 3 percent.
  • Average pay per job continues to be an economic development challenge across Kentucky, with all except the Northern Kentucky and Paducah-Purchase regions posting slower growth than the United States. Average pay in the Northern Kentucky region grew by 17 percent, while there was only a 1 percent growth in pay in the Mountain region. However, seven of the nine Kentucky regions had stronger growth in manufacturing pay than the US.
  • Kentucky as a whole added jobs (5.6 percent) at a slower clip than the US (6.3 percent), but surpassed the growth rate of all border states except Tennessee and Indiana. Kentucky has added manufacturing jobs at over twice the rate seen nationally, and manufacturing average pay has grown faster than the US or any border state.

Coomes is an emeritus professor of economics at the University of Louisville and a special consultant to the Urban Studies Institute at U of L. His area of expertise is regional economics, especially Kentucky and the Louisville region. He has been informing policy decisions through applied research in Louisville and statewide for 25 years.


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Monday, December 29, 2014