A new report says the economic impact of tourism in Kentucky grew again last year.
The study reports a $12 billion impact for tourism last year. That's up about four and a half percent from the previous year. In addition, the report credits tourism for 174,000 jobs and $2.7 billion in wages.
In a statement, tourism officials give partial credit to growth of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
The series of distilleries has drawn steady interest since it's inception in 1999, but broke an attendance record last year, drawing over half a million visitors.
April 18th is National Tax Freedom Day, the point at which Americans will have earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the local, state, and federal levels. Elizabeth Malm is an economist with the Washington-based Tax Foundation. She says Americans this year will work five days later than in 2012 to pay all their taxes.
But the nation's jobless rate still edged down to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. That dip wasn't for a good reason, though: Nearly half a million fewer people were participating in the labor force. That smaller pool meant the jobless rate could tick down even as job growth was weak.
One in five Kentuckians and Tennesseans currently receives food stamps through a federal assistance program. Nationally, the number of food stamp recipients has increased 70% since 2008.
Twenty-percent of Kentucky residents receive help through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP--which provides food stamp benefits for the needy. In Tennessee, 21% of residents are on the program, along with 14% of Indiana residents.
Analysts agree that the biggest reason for the increasing numbers on assistance is the poor job market and national increase in poverty.
But a report in The Wall Street Journal also points out that states are able to ease income tests for would-be participants, allowing those with relatively higher incomes and savings to take part in the program. As of December of 2012, a record 47.8 million Americans received benefits through SNAP.