Kentucky's economy is rebounding for some, KCEP finds

06/07/2015 09:17 PM

Jobs statistics from the Governor’s Office paint a picture of a state rebounding from the national economic downturn, but the recovery is being carried by just a handful of counties, according to a report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

“Only 28 of the 120 counties have more people employed now than they did before the recession hit,” said the director of KCEP, Jason Bailey.

Bailey described the recovery in the commonwealth as “concentrated,” with job gains in the golden triangle counties of Fayette, Jefferson, Jessamine, Scott and Woodford.

“That’s good for those part’s of the state, but we still have a long way to go,” Bailey said.

In eastern and northeastern Kentucky, jobs have declined since 2007.

The report shows major decreases for several eastern Kentucky counties in jobs since before the recession with Pike and Boyd counties losing showing a decrease in employment of more than 4,000 people. Carter, Greenup and Floyd counties have 3,000 fewer people employed than they did in 2007, according to KCEP.

“We have a big conversation to have in this state of what kind of rural economy are we going to build? How do we have a stronger link between the more prosperous urban areas and those rural areas?” Bailey said, adding that a post coal conversation should also be had in the state which has seen vast job declines.

Bailey added that the rural disparity is being discussed by the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative headed up by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep Hal Rogers, R-Somerset.

Listen to the rest of the interview to hear what Bailey has to say about the push for right-to-work laws and how Kentucky compares to nearby state which have enacted the legislation.


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