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Top 5 Industries in Kentucky: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?

By    |   Wednesday, 08 April 2015 05:32 AM

Positive growth has been recorded in professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government industries in Kentucky since the recession. Yet, the fact remains that Kentucky was one of the hardest hit states in 2008’s economic downturn, resulting in a job deficit of over 80,000 jobs.

This reality has caused a shift in Kentucky’s job mix, resulting in an increase in service-producing jobs and a decrease in goods-producing jobs. But despite the decrease in the trade, transport and utilities sector, this industry remains the largest job creator with over 375,000 employed in this arena.

Below are top five industries in Kentucky based on positive growth since 2007, along with the number of jobs available in the state.

Education and Health Services

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As stated in “Top 5 Employers in Kentucky: Which Companies Have the Most Jobs?” four out of five of the largest employers in Kentucky are in the healthcare industry. These employers account for over 40,000 jobs in Kentucky and the industry overall employs nearly 260,000 Kentuckians. The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville also make a significant impact in this industry, which has seen a growth of 7 percent since 2007—tied for highest growth of the five top industries.

Professional & Business Services

Tying education and health for industries in Kentucky with the highest percentage increase in jobs since 2007 is the area of professional and business services; however this area accounts for 60,000 fewer jobs. This sector is poised to receive a lot more attention in part because of the efforts of Trey Grayson, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s new president who took over the job on July 1, 2014.

A news blog about him stated, “[Grayson] is especially impressed with the region’s entrepreneurial startup culture through organizations such as UpTech, the region’s business accelerator, and the Northern Kentucky College of Informatics. ‘If I said to my mom and dad that after four years of college I was going to join a startup, they would have worried,’ Grayson said. ‘Now, it’s great to do that. It’s where some of our brightest and young minds are heading.’”

Leisure and Hospitality

Leisure and hospitality is one of the industries in Kentucky positively impacted by the growth of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Staples like the Kentucky Derby, Mammoth Cave and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail continue to drive tourism—with the bourbon trail setting records in 2014 by welcoming over 720,000 guests.

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As the second-largest industry in the state, Kentucky’s government has witnessed 4 percent growth since 2007 and government provides jobs for over 336,000 residents. The government’s mission is to “attract, develop, motivate and retain a talented, diverse workforce; foster an understanding of and adherence to regulatory requirements; and create a positive, supportive work environment that values all employees.”

Trade, Transport and Utilities

Of the industries in Kentucky, this sector is the only one with a negative job loss rate, with 3 percent fewer jobs available in 2013 than 2007. Yet, trade, transport and utilities still provide the highest number of jobs for Kentuckians on this list with over 375,000.

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Positive growth has been recorded in professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government industries in Kentucky since the recession.
industries, kentucky, economy
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 05:32 AM
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