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Kentucky experiences significant economic growth in first half of 2021

Private-sector companies have announced more than 4,000 jobs for Kentuckians this year

FRANKFORT, Ky. — At the midway point of 2021, Kentucky’s year-to-date new location and expansion announcements show an economy resurging from the challenges of the past 15 months and positioning the commonwealth for significant, sustained growth in the years ahead.

Since January, private-sector companies announced 50 new location and expansion projects totaling more than $2 billion in new investments and 4,000-plus full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

“2021 is off to an incredible start and we’re still gaining momentum,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.

Through May, the average incentivized hourly wage for projects announced in Kentucky in 2021 was $23.15 before benefits. That represents a 4.7% increase over last year’s average wage of $22.11, which was the second-highest mark of the past six years.

Key sectors in Kentucky’s economic recovery include metals production and fabrication; distribution and logistics; and the food, beverage and agritech industry. In each of these target industries, the adoption of advanced and innovative technologies is helping meet customer demand while creating Kentucky jobs.

While metals have been Kentucky’s top growth industry in 2021 by both investment and job creation, a number of other sectors have continued to expand as well.

Automotive companies in the commonwealth in 2021 have announced plans to add more than 1,100 jobs in the coming years with $177 million in investments. That reinforces a pillar industry that employs over 100,000 Kentucky residents and includes more than 525 automotive suppliers and four assembly plants.

So far this year, food, beverage and agritech-related businesses have announced plans to create nearly 400 Kentucky jobs through $473 million in new investments. The sector already includes more than 350 facilities employing over 52,000 people statewide.

Distribution and logistics continue to be a strong contributor to Kentucky’s growing economy in 2021, as companies within the industry moved forward with $26 million-plus in new investments and 340 job commitments. Currently, more than 580 logistics and distribution facilities operate in the commonwealth, employing nearly 78,000 people.

Kentucky’s plastics and rubber sector rounds out the state’s top-five industries thus far in 2021, with 134 new jobs announced based on over $175 million in new investments. That adds to 230-plus facilities in the state, which employ nearly 30,000 people.