Economy

The state unemployment rate declined slightly in August despite significant job losses in some key labor market sectors.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training reported Thursday that the rate fell to 8.4 percent, down from 8.5 percent in July.

State economist Manoj Shanker said the trade, transportation and utilities sector shed 2,100 jobs in August. The financial services sector lost 700 jobs. The government sector fell by 500 positions. The information sector, which includes newspapers, lost another 500 workers. And the mining and logging sector declined by another 100.

Kevin Willis

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson says that while it feels like "slogging through mud", the area economy is slowly starting to turn around.

However, Wilkerson told WKU Public Radio the city is still subject to manufacturing job losses that can have a big impact on its labor force.

"In a community our size, when something like Eagle Industries shuts down and puts 275 people out of work, we feel that hit. Fruit of the Loom has decided to reduce its workforce by close to 100 this year, and those are 100 good-paying jobs that are very meaningful to our economy. So when they're gone, we notice it," Wilkerson said.

Recent data compiled by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet show the Bowling Green Metropolitan Statistical Area with a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.5 percent for the month of July, which is two-tenths of a percentage point below the national jobless figure.

Kentucky Reports County Jobless Rates

Aug 23, 2013

Kentucky officials say unemployment rates fell in 72 of the state's counties between July 2012 and last month. They say the jobless rate rose in 42 counties and stayed the same in six.

The figures were released by the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.

The report says Woodford County had the state's lowest jobless rate at 5.8%. It was followed by Fayette County at 6.4%, Oldham County at 6.5% and Scott County at 6.6%.

Harlan County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 17.2%. Next was Leslie County at 16.9%, followed by Magoffin County 16.8% and Letcher County at 16.3%.

The statewide unemployment rate was 8.5% last month.

Kentucky Budget Experts Predict Meager Income Growth

Aug 16, 2013

Top state budget staffers are predicting meager revenue growth over the next two years in the General Fund and a slight decline in the Road Fund, largely because of Kentucky's slow rebound from economic recession.
   
Government financial analyst Greg Harkenrider told a group of Kentucky's top economists on Thursday that collections from the individual income tax, the state's top revenue producer, is projected to rise between 1.6 percent and 4 percent in the next two fiscal years. That would help to offset projected declines in the coal severance tax and the cigarette tax.
   
Those latest projections were presented Thursday to economists serving on the Consensus Forecasting Group, a panel charged with predicting long-term state government revenues.

The budget outlooks in both Kentucky and Tennessee are healthier than they were this time last year. Kentucky Budget Director Jane Driskell announced Friday that the state’s general fund receipts for the first month of the fiscal year were up two-percent over July of last year.

Tennessee, meanwhile, has ended its budget year with a $42 million budget surplus, fueled partly by a nine-percent increase in the Volunteer State’s corporate tax receipts. Governor Bill Haslam’s office hasn’t said yet what he plans to do with the extra money.

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator says he’s developing a “Republican alternative” to a Detroit bailout plan.

Speaking on the Glenn Beck radio show, Senator Paul said he is talking with his staff about ways to help economically depressed areas of the country, like Detroit. The Bowling Green Republican said he would like to look at ways to “have some tax forbearance, reduce some taxes, encourage businesses, encourage people to come in and take abandoned property.”

Politico reports Paul is opposed to the idea of borrowing money to bail out the city, but he is suggesting the government should redirect foreign aid sent to countries like Egypt, and instead use it on infrastructure projects in the U.S.

A national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that a majority Democrats believe the federal government should bail out Detroit, but an even larger majority of Americans oppose such a move.

The year-to-year unemployment rate has increased in 88 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet released figures Thursday comparing each county’s jobless rate from June of 2012 to June of this year.

Overall, the state’s jobless rate rose to 8.9% from 8.6%

Warren County’s jobless rate this June was up .8 of a percent to 8%.

In Daviess County, the unemployment figure increased half-a-percentage point to 7.9%.

Hardin County saw a jobless rate of 8.3% this June, up slightly from last year.

Pulaski County’s unemployment rate stood at 10.1%  in June, up 0.7% from last year.

The current jobless figures in those four counties all exceed the national unemployment rate of 7.8%

Jobs Report Due Out This Morning

Jul 5, 2013

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. The News Is Out:

Better Than Expected Job Growth In June

Our original post:

The leader of Kentucky's Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says a declining recidivism rate is a major reason why the commonwealth no longer needs to house inmates in privately-run prisons.

The last remaining contract between the state and a company running a private prison expired over the weekend. That facility was run by Marion Adjustment Center in Marion County.

J. Michael Brown says the state is doing a much better job of preparing those exiting prison for life on the other side. The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary says probation and parole officers in Kentucky now use an assessment tool that better takes into account an individual's history and needs to help determine how much monitoring that former inmate will need once he or she is out of prison.

"Some individuals need very little supervision, some individuals need very targeted supervision. And doing it in a manner that is not a cookie-cutter approach, we find that we can better prepare individuals for re-entry," Brown told WKU Public Radio.

According to data kept by the Cabinet, the number of offenders who left state Department of Corrections custody in 2008 and returned by the end of 2011 declined by nearly four-percent over the previous three-year period.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 353 points on Thursday in a selloff sparked by uncertainty about the end of a government monetary stimulus program and a credit crunch in China.

Wall Street followed a downturn in global markets. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lost 2.5 percent, while the Dow and Nasdaq composite indexes both lost 2.3 percent.

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