KY Policy Blog

The State of Working Kentucky: Gender

By Jason Bailey
November 13, 2012

As in the U.S. as a whole, women’s participation in the paid workforce in Kentucky has grown over the last thirty years. Also, the gap in wages between Kentucky men and women, while still large, has been shrinking. However, that gap has narrowed in part because men’s wages have weakened, and male participation in the Kentucky workforce has also been declining.

The gap in median wages between men and women has shrunk substantially in Kentucky over the last 30 years (see below). Whereas in 1981 the median female wage in read more

The State of Working Kentucky 2012: Employment

By Ashley Spalding
November 2, 2012

The recession had devastating effects on employment in Kentucky, and the recovery is only gradually lifting the state out of a deep hole. The economy’s collapse drove up the state’s unemployment rate, forced higher levels of part-time work from those who would prefer full-time jobs and led to historically high rates of long-term unemployment.

The length of time that some workers are going without finding work provides an indication of the long-lasting consequences of the recession. Kentucky’s long-term unemployment rate (the share of the unemployed who have been out of read more

Higher Education Helped in the Recession, but Doesn’t Guarantee a Good Job in Recovery

By Sean Litteral
September 13, 2012

Those with higher education fared better in the recession and are more likely to obtain the new jobs being created in the recovery. However, those new jobs tend to pay lower wages than the jobs that were eliminated during the downturn.

Thus while more education can help shield families from recession, the path to greater family economic security must also include policies that spur the creation of more good quality jobs.

A report released last month by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute highlights how the recession impacted those with different read more

Kentucky Job Growth Continues To Be Too Slow

By Jason Bailey
July 23, 2012

Kentucky added only 700 net jobs in June, again failing to produce enough jobs to make a real dent in the employment gap created by the recession. Kentucky needs to be adding 3,500 jobs a month in order to return to pre-recession unemployment rates within three years. Over the last three months, the state has been adding only 1,700 jobs a month on average.

There are clear ways for Congress to jumpstart employment growth if the will to act were there. It should be providing expanded aid to state and read more

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Help Grow Kentucky Economy

By Jason Bailey
June 18, 2012

A new report shows that one in six small business owners in the United States is an immigrant, while in Kentucky immigrants play a disproportionately large role as business owners relative to their small population.

In Kentucky, according to the report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigrants make up 4.6 percent of business owners while constituting only 2.8 percent of the population. Immigrants are more likely to be business owners in Kentucky than U.S.-born workers. Business owners make up 3.4 percent of the foreign-born labor force in Kentucky, and 2.8 read more

Budget Cuts Lead to Job Losses

By Jason Bailey
June 8, 2012

News of layoffs at the University of Kentucky follows stories of pending job loss at the Fayette County health department. Both announcements can be linked to the 11 rounds of cuts the legislature has made to the state budget, which have reduced funding for many state functions by 15-30 percent or more.

Job growth in the economy remains slow, and budget cuts at all levels are making matters worse. Those cuts are resulting in the direct elimination of jobs—both through layoffs and by agencies and organizations not hiring for open read more

The Problem of Low Wages in Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
June 8, 2012

The economy is growing, but job growth is happening way too slowly. To make matters worse, low wages keep many of those Kentucky workers with jobs from meeting their families’ basic needs.

In Kentucky, the big job losses since the beginning of the recession have been in middle-skill industries like manufacturing and construction that have historically meant middle-class wages for workers without a college education. Kentucky has lost a net 35,400 manufacturing jobs since December 2007 and 18,800 construction jobs.1

Decent jobs are going away, while wages at the low-paying read more

Spring Job Growth in Kentucky Slows, Big Gap Remains

By Jason Bailey
May 18, 2012

After stronger job increases over the winter, Kentucky’s employment growth slowed in the most recent two months with the state adding only 1,400 net jobs in March and 1,900 net jobs in April. That growth is far below what Kentucky needs to recover the huge job losses that happened during the recession and catch up with growth in the working age population. To close that deficit in three years, Kentucky needs to add an average of 4,500 jobs a month.

The figure below shows the state’s jobs deficit—the gap between read more

Faster Job Growth is Encouraging, but Kentucky Still Has Long Way to Go

By Jason Bailey
February 17, 2012

Job growth in Kentucky picked up in the last three months of 2011, as the state added 15,800 jobs. At the depths of the recession, Kentucky had lost 117,700 jobs. Job creation since the recovery began has reduced that gap, but the state still has 60,200 fewer jobs than before the recession hit.

In addition, the state’s real jobs deficit is even bigger once you take into account continued population growth. Kentucky needed to create an additional 57,400 jobs over the last four years to keep up with the ongoing read more