Regions feeling economic recovery differently, Ky. Chamber of Commerce study finds
12/29/2014 07:30 PM
Some regions of the state have flourished more than others during Kentucky’s five-year climb from the recession, with the state’s urban areas leading in employment and payroll growth while Appalachia lost more than 10 percent of its jobs and wages, according to a report by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce released Monday.
Kentucky’s 11 percent growth in manufacturing jobs between June 2009, the “bottom” of the recession, and June this year was more than twice the national average of 4.2 percent, according to the study by Paul Coomes, the chamber’s senior consulting economist.
The state lagged the 6.3 percent national average in overall employment growth, bringing in 5.6 percent more jobs in the five-year timeframe, but Coomes said the biggest hurdle is pay. Manufacturing wages in Kentucky jumped 28.9 percent, 10.6 percent higher than the national average, but overall growth trailed the U.S. average by 2 percent, according to his study.
“We’re back to where we were six and a half years ago as far as jobs,” Coomes, also an emeritus professor of economics at the University of Louisville, said in a conference call with reporters.
“We’ve had as good as the national average as far as growth rate. The weakness is pay per job. That continues to be a problem in Kentucky.”
Coomes, who based his study on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, divided the state into nine regions, with Louisville, northern Kentucky and Bowling Green-Hopkinsville topping a number of economic categories.
“It’s really the major urban areas and the Interstate 65, 75 corridors that are leading the way in jobs and in payroll,” he said, “and also when you break it out into manufacturing, you also see Louisville, northern Kentucky, Bowling Green having the fastest growth in jobs.”
Still, Kentucky’s eastern regions have seen flat or declining growth since the recession’s lowest point five years ago. The mountain region has seen its overall employment figures drop 10.3 percent and its wages down 10.8 percent, with overall quarterly pay per job up 1.3 percent.
The Ashland region typically ranked second worst in many economic categories, according to the study. Jobs there were down 4.5 percent while wages grew 3.4 percent and average quarterly pay per job up 9.2 percent.
“The other thing you see is a continuation of what we’ve been pointing out now for the last year or so is that the mountain region is still in decline and the Ashland region is pretty flat,” Coomes said. “The far east of the state has never really recovered from the recession.”
Kentucky’s comparison to contiguous states is also a mixed bag. While the state ranks among the top four in five categories of job and wage growth, it’s sixth of eight in average quarterly pay growth per job.
Chamber President Dave Adkisson said he was happy to have a detailed look at the state’s employment and economic data.
“Just simply releasing the unemployment rate for the state of Kentucky really doesn’t give us the insights we need into what’s going on in regions around the state,” he said in the conference call.
Here’s how each of the nine regions compared from June 2009 through June 2014:
Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, 8.2 percent
Louisville, 7.9 percent
Lexington, 7.3 percent
Northern Kentucky, 6.3 percent
Owensboro-Henderson, 4.9 percent
Paducah-Purchase, 3.4 percent
Cumberland, 1.1 percent
Ashland, down 4.5 percent
Mountains, down 10.3 percent
(Kentucky average, 5.6 percent; U.S. average, 6.3 percent)
Manufacturing job growth
Louisville, 19.7 percent
Northern Kentucky, 16.5 percent
Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, 13.6 percent
Cumberland, 7.1 percent
Owensboro-Henderson, 6.6 percent
Ashland, 6.2 percent
Lexington, 4.2 percent
Mountains, 1 percent
Paducah-Purchase, down 5.4 percent
(Kentucky average, 11 percent; U.S. average, 4.2 percent)
Northern Kentucky, 20.9 percent
Louisville, 20.1 percent
Owensboro-Henderson, 17.2 percent
Lexington, 17 percent
Paducah-Purchase, 16.9 percent
Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, 16.3 percent
Cumberland, 9.9 percent
Ashland, 3.4 percent
Mountains, down 10.8 percent
(Kentucky average, 16.4 percent; U.S. average, 18.4 percent)
Manufacturing wage growth
Louisville, 39.2 percent
Northern Kentucky, 37.3 percent
Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, 33.4 percent
Cumberland, 27.5 percent
Owensboro-Henderson, 25.2 percent
Lexington, 19 percent
Paducah-Purchase, 13.4 percent
Ashland, 6.5 percent
Mountains, down 3.2 percent
(Kentucky average, 28.9 percent; U.S. average, 18.3 percent)
Quarterly pay per job growth
Northern Kentucky, 17 percent
Paducah-Purchase, 15.9 percent
Louisville, 14.6 percent
Owensboro-Henderson, 13.8 percent
Lexington, 12.5 percent
Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, 10.7 percent
Cumberland, 10.6 percent
Unallocated, 10.2 percent
Ashland, 9.2 percent
Mountains, 1.3 percent
(Kentucky average, 13.3 percent; U.S. average, 14.7 percent)
Quarterly pay per manufacturing job growth
Unallocated, 21.8 percent
Northern Kentucky, 21.1 percent
Bowling Green-Hopkinsville, 20.4 percent
Cumberland, 20.3 percent
Louisville, 19.2 percent
Lexington, 19.2 percent
Owensboro-Henderson, 18 percent
Paducah-Purchase, 16 percent
Ashland, down 0.1 percent
Mountains, down 1.1 percent
(Kentucky average, 18.8 percent; U.S. average, 16.4 percent)
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