Kentucky has continued to build on recent economic momentum, and manufacturing has been a focal point of this growth. Gov. Andy Beshear has designated the month of October to be Manufacturing Month to honor this sector that employs nearly 250,000 Kentuckians.
“Manufacturing is at the heart of everything we do in terms of economic development in this state,” Gov. Beshear said. “This sector has been a driving force behind our recent success and will continue to be a pillar of our economy for generations to come. I want to thank every manufacturer across the commonwealth for their part in our continued success, as well as every single resident who works to produce Kentucky-made products that are distributed around the world.”
Kentucky’s manufacturing presence makes up 13% of the state’s workforce, which is well above the national average of 8.5%. This is a diversified workforce made up of automotive, aerospace, distribution and logistics, metals, health care, food, beverage, agritech and many others. Since the start of the Beshear administration, manufacturing projects have contributed to 475 private sector new location and expansion announcements that are creating more than 25,300 full-time jobs for Kentuckians with over $18 billion in new investment.
This continued growth is carrying over into 2022. 83 manufacturing related projects have already been announced this year. These projects are contributing nearly $6 billion in new investment and over 7,000 full-time jobs. Along with the growth in investment we have seen a wave of well-paying job opportunities in Kentucky. Through september 2022, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $25.96 before benefits. This is an 8% increase over the same figure for 2021. Nearly 7.5 billion has been invested into the Kentucky economy and more than 13,000 full-time jobs have been created in that same time. Along with this, Kentucky has posted record low unemployment rates for five consecutive months, holding at or below 3.9% since April 2022.
Kentucky’s success in manufacturing has been recognized by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which has upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive. In addition, Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Kentucky lead the entire nation in job growth for the month of August, adding 26,700 nonfarm payroll jobs. In September, Kentucky reported August 2022 General Fund receipts hit an unprecedented high for any August on record, marking 21 straight months of growing revenues for the state.
Frank Jemley, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM), said Kentucky is a leader within the industry.
“It’s exciting to celebrate Manufacturing Month in the commonwealth and salute the quarter-million Kentuckians who work so hard to make so many world-class products,” Jemley said. “Manufacturing remains the backbone of the Kentucky economy, thanks to our exceptional workforce, low-cost business climate and central location. Kentucky is a manufacturing leader among the 50 states, and the world has noticed. That’s something we can all celebrate this month.”