KY Policy Blog

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

Half of Kentuckians Report Losing Household Employment Income, and Sources They’re Relying on Are Running Out

By Jason Bailey
July 13, 2020

Half of Kentucky adults say they or someone in their household have lost employment income since the COVID-19 crisis began, according to new Census data. The sources they’re relying on to make ends meet, including enhanced unemployment insurance, stimulus payments and more personal debt, are either running out or limited.

These numbers spell trouble for Kentucky’s economy and families unless federal policy action is taken. As long as the pandemic persists — and especially since prematurely reopening the economy without controlling the disease first is proving to be a growing read more

With Looming Expiration of Federal Aid, 1 in 4 Renting Kentuckians Might Not Make Next Month’s Rent

By Dustin Pugel
July 8, 2020
According to new weekly Census data, 26.1% of all Kentuckians who rent their homes have no confidence or only slight confidence that they will be able to pay next month’s rent. Demonstrating how the pandemic is disproportionately impacting people who already regularly confront structural economic barriers, 57.6% of Black renting Kentuckians have slight to no confidence they’ll be able to make rent. This vulnerability is dangerous to us all. Stable housing is both a key component of preserving families’ economic security, and a critical public health measure to reduce the read more

Government Job Losses Are Already Weakening a Modest Return of Private Sector Employment

By Jason Bailey
June 23, 2020
While new jobs data from May shows a small uptick in employment, Kentucky continues to struggle with unprecedented job loss. And a close look at the data shows troubling signs as continued layoffs in state and local government partially counteract the modest number of jobs coming back in the private sector. Congress must provide much more in federal aid or we will see additional cuts in public spending that will further weaken the economy and extend the pain of the recession.

Layoffs have been massive, and the uptick in May read more

Black Kentucky Workers Have Been Disproportionately Laid Off During the COVID-19 Downturn

By Dustin Pugel
June 8, 2020
Black Kentuckians are experiencing job loss at a higher rate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic than white Kentuckians, according to new unemployment insurance data. A long history of racist policies (slavery, Jim Crow, segregated schools and neighborhoods and 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. To avoid worsening racial disparities and to protect all Kentuckians during the pandemic, the federal government must provide much more in aid.

According to recently read more

COVID-19 Downturn Is Hitting Certain Industries and Regions of the State Especially Hard

By Dustin Pugel
May 28, 2020
Kentucky lost 15.5% of its jobs in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic with industries like hotels, restaurants and manufacturing especially hard hit. Because urban areas tend to have more jobs in these sectors, they also had a higher rate of job loss than rural parts of the state. Continued and significantly expanded federal fiscal relief will be needed to address sinking state and local revenues, ensure individuals out of work can get by, prevent further job loss and shorten the recession.

COVID-19 job losses felt across all industries

Every read more

What’s in the HEROES Act for Kentucky

By Dustin Pugel and Jason Bailey
May 22, 2020
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the HEROES Act, a bill that would provide the kind of substantial economic relief Kentucky and other states need in the face of the COVID-19 recession. The Senate must now join the House and agree to a relief package that adequately supports families, governments and businesses through this crisis and sets the stage for a robust economic recovery when the pandemic is eventually behind us.

Here are what major elements of the HEROES Act would mean for Kentucky:

Substantial relief to state and read more

Nearly One in Three Kentucky Workers May Be Out of a Job

By Dustin Pugel
April 30, 2020

Although March’s official unemployment rate was 5.8%, once the unprecedentedly high volume of unemployment insurance claims made over the last 6 weeks is taken into account, Kentucky’s actual jobless rate could be as high as 32%. This number far exceeds historical peaks in the official unemployment rate in Kentucky – which hit 13.2% in 1983 and 11.9% in 2010 at the depths of the Great Recession.

Keeping people at home – and in many cases out of work –  is key to ensuring the reduction of COVID-19 infections. But it read more

Who Are Kentucky’s Essential Workers on the Frontlines of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

By Jessica Klein
April 21, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts all people but creates distinct challenges for the 422,000 Kentuckians working on the frontlines of the response, known as essential workers. Frontline industries –  which require public interaction to help people meet basic needs and are too critical to be closed during the pandemic – include grocery stores and pharmacies, cleaning services, trucking and warehousing, public transportation, health care, and child care and social services.

These positions have always been essential, yet many are underpaid and under-protected.  A new analysis from the Center for Economic and read more

What’s in the CARES Act for Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
April 3, 2020
Congress has passed and the President has signed a new COVID-19 economic relief bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Security (CARES) Act. Here are some of its major provisions and what they mean for Kentucky. This blog will be updated as more information becomes available.

Expanded and increased unemployment benefits

One of the most significant components of CARES increases unemployment benefits by $600 a week for the next four months, fully paid for by the federal government. Kentucky’s average unemployment benefit is only a modest $380 a week currently. This read more