KY Policy Blog

Continued Slow Job Growth in August, Historic Kentucky Jobs Gap Remains

By Jason Bailey
September 18, 2020

Kentucky had another month of relatively modest job growth in August, and the state continues to face a massive shortage of jobs while signs in the national economy show more temporary layoffs are becoming permanent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly survey of businesses shows the state added 30,800 jobs in August (or 1.7% growth), the second month of slower job growth compared to the 111,100 jobs that were added in June. That slowdown means we are still 124,700 jobs behind where we were in February.

The BLS monthly read more

Black Kentucky Workers Are More Likely To Have Been Laid Off in the Pandemic, and Less Likely to Have Been Hired Since

By Dustin Pugel
September 11, 2020

Black Kentuckians are experiencing job loss at a higher rate than white Kentuckians in the COVID-19 pandemic. A long history of racist policies ranging from slavery and Jim Crow to white-favoring hiring practices, tax policies and labor standards has led to Black Kentuckians being disproportionately underpaid, underemployed and less financially able to weather economic shocks. The data point to the need for much more in federal aid in order to prevent racial disparities from growing deeper and protect all Kentuckians during the pandemic and recession.

According to recently released data read more

More College Students Can’t Meet Their Basic Needs in the COVID-19 Pandemic, Requiring Federal and State Action

By Ashley Spalding and Jessica Klein
September 10, 2020

Too many college students in Kentucky returning to school in-person and online during the pandemic face challenges getting adequate food and housing. Meeting such basic needs was already a struggle for many – a struggle that the pandemic and economic crisis is worsening. While some individual campus interventions such as on-campus food banks should be sustained and even expanded, Congress as well as Kentucky lawmakers need to do more to address basic needs insecurity for college students.

College students experienced basic needs insecurity prior to COVID-19

Even outside of the read more

Kentucky Must Continue Momentum Reducing Jail and Prison Population

By Ashley Spalding, Dustin Pugel, Pam Thomas and Carmen Mitchell
September 3, 2020

As we enter the seventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic, jails and prisons have been among the top “hotspots” for COVID-19 at the same time incarcerated individuals are among the most medically vulnerable populations at risk of serious complications from the virus. In Kentucky, in response to these concerns, significant overall declines in incarceration in county jails have occurred, as well as some declines in state prisons.

However, in the past couple of months some local jail populations have increased, particularly in rural counties. With the pandemic stretching on and read more

Tracking SNAP in Kentucky

By Dustin Pugel
September 3, 2020

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a vital source of assistance that helps put food on the table for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. As of 2018, in Kentucky it provided food assistance to 239,000 children, 70,000 people over the age of 60, and 290,000 age 18-59. It is also an economic benefit to communities throughout the commonwealth, with direct economic benefits of $739 million during the 2019 federal fiscal year. This post will serve to track SNAP in Kentucky – as it responds to such policy decisions as read more

Federal Relief Shored Up Kentucky’s Budget, but New Projections Raise Big Concerns About Remainder of Year

By Pam Thomas
September 2, 2020

The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed Kentucky’s revenues and budget, but in the last fiscal year the impact was softened by substantial federal relief to families, businesses and the state. As Kentucky begins the 2021 fiscal year in a pandemic far from over, most of these federal aid measures have expired.

A new forecast from the Office of the State Budget Director (OSBD) projects significant shortfalls this year even with extensions of some federal aid — which Congress does not yet have agreement on. In the read more

Jobs Report Shows Kentucky Economy Stumbling, Heightens Need for Aid

By Jason Bailey
August 21, 2020

A troubling new jobs report points to a potential slowing of Kentucky’s recovery with the pandemic continuing to rage, increasing the need for much more in federal aid from Congress.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly survey of businesses shows the state added 26,400 jobs in July (or just 1.6% growth), a substantial decline from the 111,100 jobs that were added in June. That slowdown means we are still 156,400 jobs behind where we were in February, or a gap of nearly 1 in 12 Kentucky jobs.

The story is read more

Over 100,000 More Kentucky Students Can Still Claim Pandemic Grocery Money

By Dustin Pugel
August 21, 2020

Of the 605,770 Kentucky students eligible for the grocery money program known as Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT), 106,514, or 17.6% have yet to claim it. They have until August 31 to do so and bring in $33.4 million to help families put food on the table, support Kentucky farmers and boost local economies.

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Children read more

Expired $600 Unemployment Insurance Boost Leading to Hardship Among Jobless Kentuckians

By Dustin Pugel
August 17, 2020

On July 25, the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) expired for Kentuckians receiving jobless benefits, and the pain of that lost income is already being felt. Over the last several months, the $600 has helped to sustain consumer spending, prop up the state budget and enable hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Kentuckians to make ends meet amidst deep job loss and a worsening public health crisis. Unless the U. S. Senate agrees to extend the $600/week benefit, the economic damage of read more

Why the Senate COVID Proposal Fails to Meet Kentucky’s Economic Needs

By Dustin Pugel
July 29, 2020

The new Senate aid proposal, known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability and Schools (HEALS) Act, falls far short of the breadth and depth of aid needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and weather the deep economic downturn. By including only 1/3 of the funds contained in the HEROES Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives back in May, it leaves out critical assistance aimed at helping laid off workers, holding off a wave of evictions, fighting hunger, and preventing harmful cuts to state and local governments. Providing inadequate read more