For decades, American companies have been sending their manufacturing work overseas. Extremely low wages in places like China, Vietnam and the Philippines reduced costs and translated into cheaper prices for consumers wanting flat-screen TVs, dishwashers and a range of gadgets.
But now a growing number of American companies are reversing that trend, bringing manufacturing back to the United States in a trend known as "reshoring."
In an effort to improve job growth for existing and new employers across the state, the state of Kentucky is making workforce services available in one centralized location.
Governor Steve Beshear laid out the details of the ‘WorkSmart Kentucky’ initiative Monday. The program involves matching employers with available workforce resources.
“Qualifying companies within the Commonwealth will be eligible for recruitment and job screening services at no cost. In addition, flexible grant funding will be available to offset the cost of customized and in house training needs,” said Beshear.
WorkSmart Kentucky is a partnership of the state’s Economic Development, Workforce Development, and Labor Cabinets along with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The governor says the new program fits in well with the state’s emphasis on health care and educational improvements.
A report from the federal government shows some good news for Kentucky enterprise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the state led the country in new businesses created during the second quarter of of 2013, the most recent data available.
Governor Steve Beshear's office says almost 6,700 new businesses opened in Kentucky during that quarter, many of them so-called "micro-enterprises", or businesses with five or fewer employees. The number represents an increase of more than 6% from the same period a year earlier.
Kentucky ranked second nationally by percentage in new businesses opened during the first quarter of 2013, third during the last quarter of 2012 and fourth during the third quarter of 2012.
Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says any extension of long-term unemployment benefits must be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere.
Long-term unemployment compensation expired on December 28. Sixty Senators, mostly Democrats, voted Tuesday to open debate on legislation that would extend the program for three months.
Kentucky Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul voted against the procedure. In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to improve the job prospects of those looking for work.
"Yes, we should work on solutions to support those who are out of work through no fault of their own. But there is no excuse to pass unemployment insurance legislation without also finding ways to create good, stable, high-paying jobs--and also trying to find the money to pay for it," Sen. McConnell said Tuesday.
An international information technology company is adding 1,300 new jobs at its facilities in London and Winchester, Kentucky.
The new General Dynamics positions will provide technical assistance for the implementation of the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace. The General Dynamics site in London will employ up to 1,000 people, with the Winchester facility taking on 300 new workers.
The company already employs 400 people at a site in Corbin.
The new positions are for customer service representatives who will work in call centers at the facilities.
General Dynamics is holding job fairs for prospective applicants July 20 and 27 at the Somerset Community College Laurel Campus in London from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Job fairs will be held in Winchester July 15 and 16 at Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus in Clark County.
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.