FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 20, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky has set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.
Over the past 15 months, the rate has been between 3.8%, the lowest rate ever recorded, and 4%, marking the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. Kentucky has now achieved a 3.8% unemployment rate during four months since the beginning of 2022. Gov. Beshear also announced that Kentucky has seen 2.3% job growth over pre-pandemic levels, with nearly 46,000 more jobs in Kentucky than in February 2020.
“We have been consistently at or below the lowest unemployment rates in Kentucky’s history since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking it in 1976,” Gov. Beshear said. “Kentucky is emerging as a top 10 economy, and I want to thank our hard-working Kentucky families and all of the businesses that are betting their futures on our great state. Today’s news is more proof of what can achieve when we all work together on Team Kentucky.”
According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet (KELC), the preliminary March 2023 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from February 2023 and was unchanged from the 3.8% recorded for the state one year ago.
Last month, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set the lowest annual unemployment rate in state history, at 3.9% for calendar year 2022. This is the lowest annual rate seen since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting state unemployment rates in 1976.
Today’s news 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 44,800 full-time jobs and 846 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $25.8 billion in announced investments.
The Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for announced economic development projects that are going to help drive the future of Kentucky’s economy.
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.
Gov. Beshear also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
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.
Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
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.