KY Policy Blog

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 expansion of the working age population. That makes Kentucky’s total jobs deficit 117,600 jobs—the sum of net jobs lost from the recession and jobs needed to keep up with population. See the figure below.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, Kentucky needs to average 4,500 new jobs a month for three years to return the state to pre-recession unemployment rates. While job growth averaged 5,267 jobs a month the last three months of 2011, it averaged only 2,583 jobs a month for all of 2011.

 kentucky jobs deficit

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data

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