The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce recently released an analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Quarterly Census of Employment Wages. The analysis, conducted by the Chamber’s Senior Economic Advisor Dr. Paul Coomes, shows Kentucky’s statewide employment level, for the first time, is now back up above the pre-recession level. Click here to download the study.
Overall, the study shows that Kentucky as a whole has added jobs at a rate of 7.5 percent, on par with the national average. The Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green-Hopkinsville areas had job growth rates above the national average. All areas except the Paducah-Purchase Region continued to add manufacturing jobs, with five regions growing faster than U.S. manufacturing as a whole.
The largest amount of job growth statewide happened in just two Kentucky counties with 45 percent of the growth coming from Jefferson and Fayette, according to Coomes. In percentage terms,, the greatest growth was in Bullitt County—just south of Louisville—as its wage and salary job base grew by 40 percent (from 15,900 to 22,300 jobs) over the last five years.
However, a few regions continued to struggle as the Paducah-Purchase area lost manufacturing jobs and the Mountain region has lost jobs over the last five years as the coal industry continues to decline with few replacements for those jobs.
The analysis looks specifically at the employment and wage/salary trends in nine economic regions of Kentucky. The nine regions, listed below, were identified using commuting patterns and television market areas.
- The Paducah Purchase Area
- Bowling Green-Hopkinsville
- The Mountain Region
- Northern Kentucky
All regions examined in the study, with the exception of northern Kentucky, posted slower than average growth when it comes to average pay per job, while manufacturing salaries continue to be ahead of the U.S. averages in most of the state’s regions. However, average manufacturing wages in Kentucky have grown faster than the national average in three of the nine regions in the state.