UK Center releases report on Kentucky’s economy

By Michael Childress

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Identifying place and preparation as key factors affecting prosperity, the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) — the applied economic research branch of the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky — released its 36th Kentucky Annual Economic Report today.

The report is one of the many ways CBER fulfills its mandated mission as specified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes to examine various aspects of the Kentucky economy. CBER performs research projects for federal, state and local government agencies, as well as for private sector and nonprofit clients nationwide.

“The most noteworthy economic trend over the last three and a half decades is what economists call ‘human capital,’ or the education and skills necessary for economic success,” said Sturgill Professor of Economics and CBER Director Jenny Minier. And, in the decade since the Great Recession, “economic opportunity and human capital have become increasingly concentrated in urban areas, meaning that where someone lives has become an increasingly important factor affecting their economic opportunity,” Minier noted.

The report covers a variety of issues ranging from an economic forecast for Kentucky in 2019 to a comprehensive presentation of agricultural, community, economic, economic security, education, energy, environment, health, infrastructure, innovation, population and public finance factors affecting Kentucky’s future economic prosperity. As a result, Minier believes, “Many people, from business leaders to politicians to citizens, will find relevant information in the annual report.”

Minier is the author of the report’s 2019 Kentucky economic forecast, and she highlights the bright spots in the economy, which include strong gross domestic product growth (GDP), high employment and low inflation. However, she cautions that “as the short-run stimulus effects of the tax cut begin to wear off, and the higher prices and decreased export demand due to more combative trade policy and slowing global growth filter through the economy, it is likely that growth will moderate over the course of 2019.”

In addition to the economic forecast, there are over 100 trends, forces and factors affecting Kentucky’s economy presented in the report. This includes several county- and regional-level comparisons of earnings and employment; county-level analyses of the social determinants of health as well as social capital; updated research results on Kentucky’s educational position relative to other states; a comprehensive look at housing across the Commonwealth; and an updated analysis of Kentucky’s state finances compared to other states. In short, throughout this report there is new and important information, data and analysis on Kentucky’s economic situation.

According to Minier, “Our annual report provides a comprehensive overview of our state’s economy. By showing where we are, and how we got here, we can better understand our options going forward. This should help us prioritize actions to increase Kentucky’s income and achieve broad economic prosperity across the Commonwealth. ”

Digital copies of the Center for Business and Economic Research 2019 Kentucky Annual Economic Report can be obtained at the CBER website at http://cber.uky.edu

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