Like cities across the world, Louisville has not been left unscathed by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Louisville’s economic strengths and Kentucky’s strong response to the pandemic have positioned the city to recover quickly.
Following the “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918, the economy in cities that enacted more proactive measures to halt the virus’ spread generally made quicker, fuller recoveries. Because of swift action taken at the state and local levels, Kentucky has one of the lowest number of COVID-19 cases per capita. Moreover, by thoughtfully reopening businesses and implementing new safety guidelines, Louisville and Kentucky are ensuring that businesses are not only allowed to reopen, but most importantly, can remain open.
In Louisville, the recovery will be led by the city’s core strengths – medical logistics, health care and aging innovation, business services and manufacturing.
The ability to ship medical supplies and time-sensitive or temperature-controlled specimens has never been more critical. As the home of the UPS Worldport and the fourth busiest cargo airport in the world, Louisville is a center for rapid-turnaround medical and scientific lab services and shipping. With laboratory facilities onsite at the airport, specimens can be tested hours before most other labs would even receive them.
Health care and aging innovation
In addition to having the highest concentration of health care and aging innovation headquarters in the country, Louisville boasts another unique asset: the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, a consortium of CEOs from major health care and aging innovation companies, including Humana, Kindred Healthcare, Trilogy Health Services, Signature Healthcare and Apellis Pharmaceuticals. The council is investing millions in health and aging care products, services and software, and has established a Corporate Innovation Center, where companies can together identify solutions to health care gaps and business challenges.
Louisville also recently welcomed Aging 2.0. In April, the global aging innovation platform announced its new headquarters in Louisville and has partnered with the CEO Council to keep older adults connected to their communities, families, health care providers and vital information.
The COVID-19 pandemic hastened a work revolution that was already on its way – the rise of teleworking. While the pandemic forced many employees to work from home, it also proved that they can. If you can work from home, your home can be anywhere. So, why not Louisville?
In Louisville, employees can enjoy key amenities such as a world-class culinary scene, museums, all five major performing arts organizations and award-winning park systems without the cost of living in a larger city. You can rent or buy a home in the urban core or in a suburban neighborhood, in a single-family home or a multifamily development.
And employers can benefit from a competitive cost structure. That’s why global business services companies, including EY and Hogan Lovells, along with human resources consultancy Mercer and financial services company Computershare, are just a few of the business services companies occupying Louisville’s downtown office spaces and enjoying everything the city offers.
During the onset of COVID-19, many of Louisville’s manufacturers, traditional and additive, pivoted operations to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE), allowing them to help, remain open and continue paying employees.
University of Louisville’s Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science and Technology created the LOU COVID Rapid Response Group, a partnership of suppliers, manufacturers and research universities. The team secured a supply chain to produce over 200,000 face shields a week with help from regional manufacturers and suppliers like GE Appliances, Clayton & Crume and Fast Radius, and over 160 individuals who have 3D printers in their homes, offices and classrooms. The group also has worked to develop 3D-printed test swabs and other PPE innovations.
The rapid response has shown how nimble our manufacturing sector is and highlighted Louisville’s collaborative atmosphere. As we move beyond the pandemic, that collaboration between UofL and the manufacturing industry
will only grow with additional research and prototyping.
Louisville Forward is the Louisville Metro’s economic and community development entity that combines real estate, quality of place and business solutions. To learn more, visit whylouisville.louisvilleforward.com.