Economy

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet  says jobless rates declined in 114 of the state’s counties from January of last year to January of 2012. State officials say Woodford County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 6.9 percent. Webster, Fayette, Union, Oldham, and Henderson Counties are among those listed with relatively low rates, ranging from 7.2 to 7.9 percent.

A compromise to help employers avoid high federal unemployment insurance taxes has easily cleared a House committee. The proposal would allow Kentucky to borrow money from a bank or other organization to repay federal loans. Kentucky borrowed nearly one billion dollars from the federal government to pay for unemployment insurance during the recession.

The Office of State Budget Director Mary Lassiter says General Fund Receipts in the bluegrass state increased 3.8 percent in February, compared to February of 2011. Total revenues topped 574 million dollars, compared to just under 553 million dollars for the same month last year.

wku public radio

Owensboro leaders announced Friday a project that will invest 44 million dollars in the city's downtown area. A key portion of that investment will be a new convention class Holiday Inn hotel, to be located on the west side of the newly planned convention center. In addition,  Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP has come to a preliminary agreement with the Riverfront Jam, LLC developers to relocate the Owensboro office to a downtown location.

Officials with the U-S  Treasury Department are trying to alert people who receive paper checks for Social Security benefits that they must switch to electronic payment by March first of 2013. Walt Henderson, the Director of the E-F-T Strategy Division of the U-S Treasury's Financial Management Service, says about fifteen percent of the recipients in Kentucky still receive paper checks and will need to make the change.

Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie of Kentucky says he's heard plenty of constituents expressing concern about higher gasoline prices in recent days. The Republican from Bowling Green says the higher prices at the pump are difficult for consumers to accept in an already troubled economy.

Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie of Kentucky says he's heard plenty of constituents expressing concern about higher gasoline prices in recent days. The Republican from Bowling Green says the higher prices at the pump are difficult for consumers to accept in an already troubled economy. He says the higher fuel prices are also being felt in the trucking industry, and he warns that increases in shipping costs  could lead to higher costs for numerous products, from manufactured goods to groceries. 

In a statement released today the US Postal Service says it will close eight mail processing centers in Kentucky, including locations in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, London, and Somerset. The processing work currently done at those centers will be processed at facilities in other cities in the future.

Some petroleum industry analysts say the higher prices on gas pumps in the region may not have hit their peak yet. Upward movement was reported during the day yesterday, with retail prices hitting $3.75 per gallon at several stations in Bowling Green. Gasbuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHaan predicts the upward pressure could continue through the end of the week.

Owensboro-Daviess County Tourist Commission

James Barnett of the Daniel Pitino Shelter in Owensboro says his agency is seeing more "first-time" homeless than ever. Barnett says the difficult economy has forced people who had never sought assistance in the past to ask for help.

A nationwide foreclosure settlement with five major mortgage lenders means thousands of Kentuckians will receive direct payments, loan modifications, or principal write-downs. Kentucky was one of the last states to agree to the $25 billion deal with Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Ally Financial. Attorney General Jack Conway says the Commonwealth will receive $58.8 million of the settlement.

More than 40 U.S. states have agreed to a nationwide settlement over foreclosure abuses. The deal would force the five largest mortgage lenders to reduce loans for about 1 million households.

Five years ago, a subprime mortgage firestorm was melting down the U.S. economy, but most analysts didn't see it happening.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress in February 2007, said the housing sector "is a concern, but at this point we don't see it as being a broad financial concern or a major factor in assessing the course of the economy."

If he and the vast majority of economists were blind to the economic and financial calamity taking shape then, could they also be missing the start of a huge economic boom now?

A boom? Really?

Industry Analyst Gregg Laskoski of GasBuddy.com says there are many uncertainties in the market place this year, but he believes median gasoline prices could reach or exceed four dollars per gallon by Memorial Day in many parts of the country. A new report released by GasBuddy.com warns that the retail price of gasoline at the start of 2012 was  signicantly higher than just two years ago. Laskoski calls that an "ominous sign" for the rest of 2012.  He spoke with Dan Modlin...........

Bowling Green, KY – A public meeting will be held in Mayfield to get public input on a new study regarding a proposed Western Kentucky corridor for Interstate 69. Officials in Kentucky are hoping that portions of existing roadways can be included in the corridor, to help manage costs. Public Information Officer Keith Todd of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says public comments will be accepted on the proposal until the end of November. Dan Modlin spoke with Todd.

Pages