FRANKFORT, Ky. — Economic growth in Kentucky passed another historic milestone as Gov. Matt Bevin announced Friday the commonwealth eclipsed $20 billion in corporate investment since December 2015 — an all-time record for any four-year administration — spurring the ongoing creation of nearly 54,000 Kentucky resident, full-time jobs.
“This record-breaking investment of private capital is driving our local economies and will revitalize communities across the commonwealth for decades to come,” said Gov. Bevin. “Policies implemented by our administration and legislative partners — including right-to-work, Red Tape Reduction and transformative workforce development training — have made this accomplishment a reality. Kentucky’s tremendous geographic, logistical, cost of living and workforce advantages, amplified by strong support from local leaders, utilities and higher education institutions, have enabled us to unleash unprecedented economic success and create long-term opportunities for Kentucky families.”
The $20 billion in pledged investment comes across 1,180 individual projects, wherein private-sector companies plan to either expand their existing operations or establish new facilities in Kentucky. In addition to the direct job creation, these projects create indirect and spin-off employment – such as construction, service and supplier jobs.
Kentucky’s economic growth broke a record in 2017, with $8.7 billion in new investment announced – by far the most for any single year in the commonwealth’s history. That success came atop $3.1 billion announced in 2016, and rolled forward with the state’s second-most successful year in terms of planned economic growth with nearly $5.3 billion announced in 2018. Across the first half of 2019, companies committed another $2.4 billion-plus in investments.
“This achievement represents tremendous efforts by Gov. Bevin and his staff, our and fellow cabinets, legislators and partners across the state. However, our work is far from done,” said Vivek Sarin, Cabinet for Economic Development interim secretary. “It’s both our cabinet’s charge and plan to keep this momentum rolling. We’re putting new emphasis on courting investment from China in addition to our longstanding sources in Japan and Europe. We’re reenergizing our commitment to serving existing industries, working with partners to further develop Kentucky’s inventory of grade-A industrial sites and buildings and leveraging federal initiatives, including Opportunity Zones and tech-transfer grant programs to create follow-on success.”
“This milestone is further evidence that good tax and pro-growth policies create a strong economy,” added House Speaker David Osborne. “Working together, we can continue to attract jobs and bring prosperity to our state.”
Automotive-sector growth led Kentucky’s announced projects by industry. Since taking office Dec. 8, 2015, Gov. Bevin’s administration has catalogued 222 automotive project announcements, totaling more than $6.3 billion in current and planned investment and 11,000-plus jobs announced.
Other top growth industries include:
- Primary metals: 64 announcements totaling more than $4.8 billion and 3,600 jobs announced.
- Food and beverage: 202 announcements totaling more than $3.6 billion and 5,142 jobs announced.
- Distribution and logistics: 159 announcements totaling nearly $3 billion and 10,435 jobs announced.
Additional focus on strengthened international relationships contributed to an influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) in recent years. Under the Bevin administration, 214 new-location or expansion projects were announced by internationally owned companies. Those are resulting in more than $6.5 billion in investment and 12,356 potential jobs.
Japanese-owned companies led with more than $4 billion across 91 announced projects, totaling and over 4,300 jobs. Indian-owned businesses followed in second place, with $442 million with 235 new jobs across four projects. Ranked third by investment, Chinese-owned companies committed nearly $369 million with the promise of 942 jobs.
Canadian and German companies continue to be among the strongest job creators in the state, announcing as many as 1,383 and 1,020 jobs respectively, over the past three and a half years.
As a growing range of companies have established and grown in the commonwealth, demand for Kentucky-made products followed suit. Exports grew each of the past three years, culminating in a state record of more than $31.76 billion last year, a 14.9 percent increase from 2015. By export category, aerospace products and parts led the way, followed by motor vehicles and pharmaceuticals and medicines. Canada, France and the United Kingdom consistently ranked among the top export destinations for Kentucky products.
Detailed reports on the 1,180 projects can be viewed here.