State employment now 20,000 above pre-recession peak


Staff Report



FRANKFORT – On Sunday, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce released a report conducted by the Chamber’s Senior Economic Advisor Dr. Paul Coomes, looking at the just-released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on job and payroll growth.

“This report provides a snapshot not just of Kentucky’s economy as a whole, but of the state’s nine economic regions,” said Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson. “Paul’s data reveals the nuances of Kentucky’s complex economy.”

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 states, and includes tables and charts that summarize recent economic growth.

“Kentucky as a whole added jobs (7.4 percent) at a slower clip than the U.S. (8.4 percent), but greater than the growth rate of all border states except Tennessee and Indiana,” said Coomes. “And Kentucky now has about 20,000 more jobs than it had at the peak of the last national expansion, in 2007. Additionally, the state has added manufacturing jobs at three times the rate seen nationally, though remains 12,000 jobs below its previous cyclical peak in 2007.”

Additionally, Coomes’ research found the following:

– Employees in Kentucky earned $19.7 billion in wages and salaries in the April to June quarter of 2015. Well over half (58 percent) of the statewide payroll was earned in just two regions – Louisville and Lexington.

– Wages and salaries in five of the nine economic regions grew by 20 percent (not adjusted for inflation) or more since 2009, led by Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Lexington. However, payrolls declined in the Mountain region by 13 percent.

– Workers in Kentucky earned on average $10,700 in the second quarter of 2015, compared to $12,600 nationally.

– Kentucky had 241,000 manufacturing jobs as of June 2015. The state has added manufacturing jobs at three times the rate seen nationally, though remains 12,000 jobs below its previous cyclical peak (in 2007). Kentucky has increased its share of U.S. manufacturing jobs from 1.8 to 2.0 percent over the last decade.

– Four of the nine Kentucky regions had stronger growth in manufacturing pay than the U.S.

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 more than 25 years.

Staff Report

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