Governor reports lowest unemployment rate in state history, updates Kentuckians on economic development efforts
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 19, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on the lowest unemployment rate in state history, economic development efforts, legislation that supports the military community, tornado relief, National Police Week, Brain Tumor Awareness Month and COVID-19. The Governor also congratulated this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star.
Lowest Unemployment Rate in State History
Today, Gov. Andy Beshear reported that Kentucky just posted the lowest unemployment rate in state history, further proof that the commonwealth’s record-breaking economic momentum is benefitting all Kentuckians. According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2022 unemployment rate was 3.9%, the lowest rate ever recorded since the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics began reporting state rates in 1976.
Economic Development in the Commonwealth
The Governor said the state is continuing to see great economic success. He congratulated Catalent Inc., which partners with pharma, biotech and consumer health companies to optimize the development, launch and life-cycle supply of products for patients around the world, on its planned $175 million investment to expand its existing operation and add a new R&D facility in Clark County, creating 277 high-wage jobs for Kentuckians.
“On behalf of Catalent Winchester and Catalent Pharma Solutions, I would like to thank Gov. Beshear and the Cabinet for Economic Development for their continued support of Catalent’s growth in Kentucky,” said Chris Rosenbaum, general manager of Catalent in Winchester. “The addition of our manufacturing capacity and capability in Winchester along with the research and development facility is only going to further our mission to help people around the world to live better and healthier lives.”
On Monday, the Governor announced another strong showing for Kentucky in Site Selection magazine’s annual rankings, which include the 2022 Prosperity Cup and Mac Conway Awards, as well as the Top Deals in North America list. Kentucky ranks sixth in this year’s Prosperity Cup. The ranking recognizes state-level economic development success based on capital investment project activity during the previous calendar year. Two of the commonwealth’s most significant recent projects – Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation’s BlueOvalSK battery park in Hardin County, which was announced in September, and the recently opened Amazon Air Hub in Boone County – ranked third and 11th, respectively, among the Top Deals in North America for 2021, based on capital expenditures and job creation.
On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear announced that A2A Pharmaceutical Network, a pharmaceutical manufacturing, wholesale and technology organization, will expand its operations with a new headquarters facility in Scottsville, investing a combined $1.7 million-plus and creating 27 full-time jobs for residents in the community.
On Wednesday, the Governor joined local officials and Kroger representatives to break ground on a new Kroger being built in Oldham County. The 100,000-square foot store will include an expanded fuel center, a Starbucks and a Little Clinic.
Last week, Gov. Beshear attended a ribbon-cutting and barrel-signing event at Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont as part of the company’s reopening ceremony. The event celebrated a $45 million investment that saw a complete overhaul of the facility. It now offers expanded tours, an education center, amphitheater, meeting spaces and a more comprehensive guest experience.
As part of Military Appreciation Month, Gov. Beshear ceremonially signed into law four pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly that support Kentucky’s military community and families. The legislation expands the Military Family Assistance Trust Fund, makes it easier for military spouses to obtain occupational licenses and adds seven active military unit license plates to the 28 current military-related plates.
More than $580,000 in Additional SAFE Funds for Tornado Recovery
Gov. Beshear announced the fourth round of awards from the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (SAFE) fund. The $586,000 in assistance announced today will go to three eligible Western Kentucky counties to help with the costs of recovery from the devastating December 2021 tornadoes.
“We will continue to support our Western Kentucky families and communities until we rebuild every home and every life following the December 2021 tornadoes,” Gov. Beshear said. “The funds awarded this week will help cover expenses and services that are not eligible for FEMA aid, and they will help relieve some of the financial strain these communities continue to face during this time of recovery.”
The $586,000 announced today will accommodate the 5.2% local share for FEMA-eligible expenses and will help cover the costs of some non-FEMA eligible storm debris removal.
Today’s funding awards include:
- $500,000 to the Caldwell County Fiscal Court;
- $36,000 to the Lyon County Fiscal Court; and
- $50,000 to Marshall County Fiscal Court.
“Caldwell County is so grateful to receive this support,” Caldwell County Judge/Executive Larry Curling said. “The money awarded today to Caldwell County will be used to offset some of the cost of debris removal that is ineligible for FEMA assistance. We realize had it not been a total Team Kentucky effort between Gov. Beshear and all our General Assembly members, this assistance would not have been possible.”
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced the award of more than $3 million to 12 Western Kentucky recipients. On May 5, he awarded $6.1 million to seven Western Kentucky recipients. On April 28, the Governor announced $8.5 million in financial assistance to Hopkins County.
Gov. Beshear recommended the appropriation for the SAFE fund, and the 2022 General Assembly supported the aid by passing Senate Bill 150, which the Governor signed into law in April. The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management continues to receive additional applications for SAFE funding, which are being carefully reviewed to ensure the funds are used to their maximum benefit.
Gov. Beshear said there was another increase in reported COVID-19 cases last week. There are now 12 counties in yellow, or moderate, compared with three last week. He noted that hospitalizations remain low and stable but cautioned that Kentucky is seeing an uptick in the positivity rate. The Governor and Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack encouraged unvaccinated Kentuckians to get vaccinated and for vaccinated Kentuckians to get boosted if they haven’t already.
“We are adjusting to life with COVID, not life permanently disrupted by COVID. Even so, the cases have increased and there is more disease out there,” said Dr. Stack. “I want to encourage any Kentuckian following our recommendations to use the CDC Community Levels chart as a tool.”
On Tuesday, the FDA approved a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a booster for children ages 5 to 11 who have completed their primary Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series at least 5 months prior. Everyone 5 and older is now eligible for at least one booster dose. Those 50 and older and people 12 and older with certain immunocompromised risks are currently eligible for two booster doses. While both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna continue to work against the vaccine, no COVID-19 vaccines are currently available for children younger than 5.
National Police Week
Gov. Beshear invited Kentuckians to honor law enforcement personnel during National Police Week 2022. This observance pays tribute to local, state and federal peace officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty. On Monday, Calloway County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jody Cash lost his life in service to Kentucky. The Governor has ordered flags at all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, May 21, in honor of Chief Deputy Cash.
Gov. Beshear Proclaims Second Annual David Turner Jr. Ice Cream Day
On Tuesday, the Governor signed three proclamations to help raise awareness for childhood brain cancer, recognizing Brain Tumor Awareness Month, DIPG Awareness Day and the second annual David Turner Jr. Ice Cream Day. The Governor said he was honored to celebrate the progress the state is making in the fight against childhood brain cancer and to remember the precious children, like David Turner Jr., that we have lost far too soon to this awful disease.
Team Kentucky All-Star
Gov. Beshear named Jamie Woosley, principal of Jennings Creek Elementary School in Bowling Green, this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star. Principal Woosley has worked to ensure that his students and their families are safe and healthy after tornadoes impacted their community and worked with First Lady Britainy Beshear to pull together a toy drive for his students. The Governor also recognized all educators and school staff in Western Kentucky that continue to provide for students and families impacted by the December tornadoes.