Kentucky shows significant economic growth in first half of 2021, topping $2 billion in total investment
Private-sector companies have announced more than 4,000 jobs for Kentuckians this year
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) - Governor Beshear announced today, at the midway point of 2021, Kentucky’s year-to-date new location and expansion announcements show an economy resurging from the challenges of the past 15 months and positioning the commonwealth for significant, sustained growth in the years ahead.
Since January, private-sector companies announced 50 new location and expansion projects totaling more than $2 billion in new investments and 4,000-plus full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
“Each of these companies is betting on Kentucky because they’re seeing what we’re seeing: an economy that’s lifting off and a dedicated workforce that’s ready to seize new, high-quality opportunities,” said Gov. Beshear. “2021 is off to an incredible start and we’re still gaining momentum.”
Through May, the average incentivized hourly wage for projects announced in Kentucky in 2021 was $23.15 before benefits. That represents a 4.7% increase over last year’s average wage of $22.11, which was the second highest mark of the past six years.
Key sectors in Kentucky’s economic recovery include metals production and fabrication; distribution and logistics; and the food, beverage and agritech industry. In each of these target industries, adoption of advanced and innovative technologies is helping meet customer demand while creating Kentucky jobs.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced that companies in Kentucky’s metals industry in 2021 have announced $870 million in new investments and over 1,500 jobs for Kentucky residents. Currently, the commonwealth is home to over 230 metals-related facilities, which employ approximately 25,000 people.
While metals has been Kentucky’s top growth industry in 2021 by both investment and job creation, a number of other sectors have continued to expand as well.
Automotive companies in the commonwealth in 2021 have announced plans to add more than 1,100 jobs in the coming years with $177 million in investments.
That reinforces a pillar industry that employs over 100,000 Kentucky residents and includes more than 525 automotive suppliers and four assembly plants.
So far this year, food, beverage and agritech-related businesses have announced plans to create nearly 400 Kentucky jobs through $473 million in new investments.
The sector already includes more than 350 facilities employing over 52,000 people statewide.
Distribution and logistics continues to be a strong contributor to Kentucky’s growing economy in 2021, as companies within the industry moved forward with $26 million-plus in new investments and 340 job commitments.
Currently, more than 580 logistics and distribution facilities operate in the commonwealth, employing nearly 78,000 people.
Kentucky’s plastics and rubber sector rounds out the state’s top-five industries thus far in 2021, with 134 new jobs announced based on over $175 million in new investments.
That adds to 230-plus facilities in the state, which employ nearly 30,000 people.
The job and investment projects add to other recognized achievements throughout 2021 that highlight Kentucky’s surging economy.
Last month, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services.
The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services.
The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings last month improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 placed Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita.
The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million.
Site Selection also recently ranked Kentucky in a tie for fifth on its 2021 Prosperity Cup list, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
To learn more about Kentucky’s economic growth in 2021, click here.
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