West Ky. Economy Lags Behind State Average Since Recession End, Per Chamber Report

Sep 10, 2018

Counties in far west Kentucky rank below the statewide average for economic growth since the 2009 recession. 

That's according to a report released Monday by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce that measured the growth rate of jobs, population and wages and salaries across all industries.

The counties identified as the 'Paducah-Purchase' region include the Jackson Purchase and Livingston, Lyon and Crittenden counties.

The region saw a 3.5% increase in job growth compared to statewide growth of just over 10%. The region saw a rise in income by more than 27%. That’s compared to 47% income growth in Northern Kentucky and 44% in Louisville.

Credit https://www.kychamber.com/sites/default/files/Economic%20Report%20September%202018%20Website.pdf

University of Louisville Economics professor Paul Coomes prepared the report. He said economic growth is focused in those areas because of their proximity to interstates that connect the north and south.

“If you travel interstate 65 or 75, what you’ll immediately notice is tractor-trailers everywhere. It’s an industrial pipeline. And so there’s just a lot more economic activity going north/south than east/west,” Coomes said.

Coomes said areas like Lexington and Louisville have also benefited from population growth as a result of people moving there for work from other parts of the state. The Paducah-Purchase area saw a 1% decline in population since 2009.

Kentucky as a whole ranked below the national average in all areas, but out-performed border states including Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and West Virginia.

The report said 180,000 jobs have been created in the Commonwealth since the end of the recession.