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.
The Kentucky Lottery Corporation is moving ahead with a new Keno game and online lottery sales, in hopes the games will be profitable.
The lottery board hopes to generate $85 million dollars a year with the new games by 2023.
State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach spearheaded the effort to expand to Keno and online sales as a way to help generate more revenue for the state. He says the implementation will take time, but money should start coming in shortly afterward.
"So you're probably not going to see anything of any significance until 2014. It takes a little while."
State House Democrats have said additional lottery revenues could pay for the state's underfunded pension system. Finding a way to fund pension reforms has been a major cause of disagreement in Frankfort this year.
Gov. Steve Beshear has concluded a meeting with a bipartisan group of legislative leaders without breaking an impasse on pension reform legislation.
The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-led Senate have been at loggerheads on how to shore up the financially troubled pension plans for state and local government retirees.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo called the Friday morning meeting a first step. He's said everyone involved wants to resolve the issue now to avoid the cost of a special legislative session later.
Among the major sticking points: A Senate proposal to create a 401(k)-like retirement plan for new employees and a House proposal to use money from the lottery and horse tracks to boost the state's yearly pension contribution.