Commentary on Kentucky – June 2011

By wmadministrator

Many in business and economics believe that as Louisville goes, so goes Kentucky, and it’s largely true. Roughly a fourth of all Kentuckians live in Jefferson County, and thousands of others commute there daily to work. Louisville is our primary economic engine.

As such, it was good news early this month when University of Louisville economist Paul Coomes advised that he expects the 13-county Louisville area to create 10,000 jobs this year, according to a Courier-Journal report on his economic forecast testimony to Louisville Metro council members preparing their fiscal 2012 budget.

Coomes, one of Kentucky’s foremost economic analysts, said manufacturing, professional services and the hospitality industry will generate the most jobs in the 13-county Louisville metro area – nine Kentucky and four Indiana counties.

Calling his forecast “the best economic news Louisville has had” in several years, Coomes told council members the area had lost nearly 30,000 jobs since 2000 even though there had been gains in education, government and healthcare during the decade. Those gains were offset by the loss of 32,000 manufacturing and 10,000 retails jobs, especially after the deep recession and financial crisis struck in 2008.

Kentucky and Louisville in particular are seeing significant job growth in manufacturing, which is turning into a bright spot for the still-weak U.S. economy. Ford Motors plans to hire 1,800 more workers for it Louisville Assembly Plant, which is undergoing a $600 million renovation that will make it the most advanced and flexible production site anywhere.

Ford’s commitment last December to not only maintain but expand its major operations here is attracting more members to the commonwealth’s 400-strong vehicle supplier sector. GM’s recently announced $130 million upgrade and expansion in Bowling Green is having a similar effect. Toyota is hiring several hundred more workers in Georgetown.

Meanwhile, General Electric has added hundreds of assembly workers in Louisville of late to manufacture new, more efficient generations of appliances.
But Ford, GE and GM are only the most prominent members of many manufacturers being attracted to Louisville and elsewhere in Kentucky by skilled and dedicated work force and a competitive economic development incentive program in Frankfort.

And the better news on recent and anticipated job growth is the positive ripple effect it creates. Payroll growth puts more money into circulation for all businesses, and it will begin relieving the massive fiscal headache state and local public officials have had the past few years.

The Courier-Journal’s report states that occupational and business net profits taxes account for 53 percent of general fund dollars in Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed $503 million budget. The Lane Report’s cover story in March 2010 was about the fiscal difficulties local governments all over Kentucky were facing as a result of job losses. Public officials across the state have cut and rebalanced their budgets multiple times since.

The tide is coming back in, however. State government reports tax receipts running 5 percent ahead of expectations for fiscal 2011. Coomes told Louisville officials to expect 3.1 percent growth in occupational license revenue for 2012.
And that’s very encouraging news for all Kentuckians: An estimated 40 cents of each tax dollar collected in Jefferson County flows out to the rest of the state. Let’s get to work.

 

The Real Daniel Needham
An incorrect photo was published earlier in the year of Daniel Needham, managing director of Assurance Investment Partners, which is parent company of Arison Insurance Services. The photo used was indeed Daniel Needham, but it was the wrong Daniel Needham. Sorry about that, everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kozarovich Joins The Lane Report
Veteran journalist and media publisher Steve Kozarovich has joined Lane Communications Group as associate publisher in the company’s Louisville office.
Kozarovich most recently served as publisher and executive editor of The New Albany (Ind.) Tribune and Southern Indiana Business Source magazine. As a member of the media for more than 15 years, Kozarovich managed newsrooms in Louisiana, Connecticut, Indiana and New York. Staff in each state were each honored with a press association’s or company’s “Newspaper of the Year” recognition  –  a reflection of overall quality and public service.

“We’re excited to add an experienced and accomplished publishing veteran like Steve to our team. He will improve our presence in Louisville and help us better serve our clients in Kentucky’s largest and most vibrant market,” Publisher Ed Lane said.

“As an avid reader of The Lane Report during my publishing role in Southern Indiana, I’m excited to offer my skills to the team of such a highly respected and quality organization,” Kozarovich said. “A bonus is having the opportunity to continue working and living in this region that I’ve come to love during the last six years.”

Steve and his wife Lisa, a long-time journalist and Louisville native, have one daughter.

Lane Communications publishs  The Lane Report, a monthly statewide business magazine; BG – A Way of Life magazines in Louisville and Lexington, featuring content for emerging leaders and young professionals; and a variety of business-to-business and specialty publications. The Lane Report began publishing in 1985.

 

UK?Ranks 6th in Top 100 Social Media Colleges in Nation
Congratulations to two Kentucky schools for being named among the Top 100 Social Media Colleges in the United States. UK jumped five slots in the newest rankings to No. 6, while Transylvania University is also in the top 100 at No. 92.
Berea College had been No. 94 in the previous rankings.

The StudentAdvisor.com site rankings compare more than 6,000 federally recognized U.S. colleges and universities and post-secondary schools in terms of their mastery of public social media methods, tools and websites. It looks at how active and effective each school is at engaging their audiences on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media tools, such as iTunes and podcasts, taking into account the size of each school and other metrics to gauge overall reach and effectiveness.

The evaluators especially liked UK’s SeeBlue interactive virtual tour. It is pretty cool; check it out at seeblue.com/?partner=uky#/home.

The Top 10 Social Media Colleges

1.    Johns Hopkins University
2.    Harvard University
3.    University of Notre Dame
4.    Columbia University (New York)
5.    Ohio State University
6.    University of Kentucky
7.    Stanford University
8.    Emerson College (Boston)
9.    Louisiana State University
10.  U.S. Military Academy (West Point)
Another Blue Chipper
Our annual Kentucky Blue Chip 25 list, which appeared in the May issue, has been remiss in not including a major corporation in the commonwealth business community, PharMerica Corp.

Spun off from Kindred Healthcare in 2007 as a result of a merger with AmerisourceBergen Corp., the Louisville-based entity is a leading institutional pharmacy company that services facilities mostly in the long-term healthcare sector. It also provides pharmacy management services to hospitals.

PharMerica (NYSE: PMC) is a Fortune 1000 operation with revenue of $1.847 billion for 2010, ranking it the ninth largest publicly held company based in Kentucky. That’s pretty darn big.

Net income for 2010 at PharMerica was $19.2 million. Its market capitalization is $344.65 million. Greg Weishar is CEO of PharMerica, which operates 97 pharmacies in 43 states. Leaving PharMerica off the Top 25 list was a hard pill to swallow.

Brown-Forman Income: The Rest of the Story
Incorrect revenue and net income figures for Brown-Forman were included in our Kentucky Blue Chip 25 list in the May issue of The Lane Report. The Louisville-based wine and spirits giant had revenue of $3.226 billion in fiscal year 2010 and net income of $449 million.

Brown-Forman’s rank as the eighth-largest publicly held Kentucky-based company was correct, as was all the other information for the company in our list.

Brown-Forman’s fiscal year ends on April 30, a detail that apparently was not appropriately taken into accounty by our usually reliable source of financial information for publicly held companies.

Louisville Featured in NYT Travel Section
A recent New York Times feature article “36 Hours in Louisville” [see it at http://tiny.cc/ix9hr ] shines the national spotlight on some of the many possibilities found in our fair state’s largest city. As the article says, “Louisville retains its easy charm – a glass of fine bourbon and good conversation aren’t hard to find.” Among the business entities mentioned are:

Hillbilly Tea; The Muhammad Ali Center; Churchill Downs; Actors Theatre of Louisville; Kentucky Center; Louisville Orchestra; Louisville Ballet; Hard Rock Cafe Louisville; Seelbach Hilton Louisville; Heine Brothers’ Coffee; 21C Museum Hotel; and Brown Hotel.

We’re sure readers of The Lane Report have known how fascinating our state’s largest city is for a long time. Glad to hear the folks in the Big Apple are figuring it out also, and spreading the word via what many people consider our national newspaper of record. And the rest of the state’s not bad, either!

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