Jobs promised in Kentucky vs. jobs created -- Do the numbers add up?

09/28/2011 07:56 AM

Throughout Gov. Steve Beshear’s nearly four years in office, he has issued a stream of press releases highlighting companies that have promised to create jobs — from a handful of positions to several thousand — through expansion or relocation in Kentucky.

But a survey of many of those companies shows that less than a third of the total number of jobs promised have been filled so far.

Pure Politics contacted the more than 120 companies whose pledges to create jobs were trumped in state press releases between March 2008 and June 2, 2011.

Of those, 87 companies confirmed the number of the positions that had been filled by this summer. Combined, the 87 firms had promised to hire 11,786 Kentuckians. So far, they had collectively hired 3,691.

That’s a rate of 31.3 percent.

But Beshear said the press releases haven’t been misleading because many of the companies haven’t finished constructing new facilities where the new jobs will be. And he said none of the companies that apply for state tax incentives will get the money unless they deliver the jobs.

The list of companies does include some high-profile failures. For instance, the state’s press release from Aug. 25, 2008, says Integrity Automotive would create 4,000 new jobs at a Simpson County plant that would build electric “Zap” cars. But the company’s founder has since declared bankruptcy, and those jobs won’t materialize.

Beshear acknowledged that not every company can deliver. Instead, he said his administration has tried to focus on a broad approach — from the small firm adding a few new employees to manufacturers like General Electric and Ford Motor Company in Louisville adding hundreds.

Amid a lackluster national economy, it’s no surprise that the issue of jobs has been a major campaign theme for the governor, as well as his two challengers, Republican David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith.

And as voters begin to plug in to the fall campaign, many of them want to hear what the candidates say about improving Kentucky’s employment opportunities.

- Research and reporting with the companies by Lauren Brown, compiled by Ryan Alessi with additional reporting by Kenny Colston


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