Gov. Beshear: Kentucky Sets Lowest Annual Unemployment Rate in State History

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 6, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky set the lowest annual unemployment rate in state history for 2022 at 3.9%. This is the lowest rate seen since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting state unemployment rates in 1976.

The report is according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for 2022 was 1,968,121.

“Today’s report is another indication that Kentucky is an economic powerhouse and that we are growing good-paying jobs for our families,” Gov. Beshear said. “With the lowest unemployment rate in our state’s history, we know more Kentuckians are chasing their dreams and providing for their families right here at home.”

Click here to read the full report.

This good economic news follows the Governor’s announcement Monday launching the “Supply Kentucky” initiative, which has the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.

Just last week, the 2022 Governor’s Cup rankings had Kentucky placing second nationally in economic projects per capita – up from ninth place last year – and first in the South Central region. The state also secured the ninth spot in the country for total qualifying projects, moving up two spots from the previous year.

Kentucky also took the second spot in the South Central region for overall qualifying projects and secured 11 of the Top 100 Micropolitan areas – cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 – and tied for third nationally, with 40 micropolitan projects. Those communities include Bardstown, Glasgow and London in the Top 20, followed by Murray, Frankfort, Richmond-Berea, Paducah, Campbellsville, Mayfield, Maysville and Middlesboro.

Three Kentucky companies – Envision AESC, Ford Motor Co. and Novelis Corp. – were also recently recognized with 2023 Corporate Investment/Community Impact (CiCi) Awards from Trade & Industry Development, which highlight projects that bring extensive capital investment or influential impact to the communities in which they locate. The Envision AESC and Ford Motor Co. announcements also solidified Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.

In addition to the commonwealth’s strong Governor’s Cup placement nationally, several Kentucky communities were recognized by Site Selection for their economic success in 2022.

Kentucky’s lowest annual employment rate, along with the 2022 Governor’s Cup and 2023 CiCi Awards, furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 43,700 full-time jobs and 838 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $24.7 billion in announced investments.

With the books closed on 2022, the Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.

In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years.

That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs behind nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.

Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy. In addition, Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.

Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy-day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.