EVANSTON, Ill. (Dec. 19, 2013) – For the third consecutive year, industrial employment in Kentucky posted a gain, according to the 2014 Kentucky Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory and database published by Manufacturers’ News Inc.
According to the report, Kentucky gained 7,401 manufacturing jobs between September 2012 and September 2013, representing a 2.6 percent increase and outpacing the previous year’s 1.5 percent increase and a national average gain of 2.3 percent.
According to Manufacturers’ News, Kentucky is now home to 5,115 manufacturers employing 288,331 workers.
“Kentucky’s industrial climate continues to improve,” said Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “The state’s low business costs and ideal location for the shipment of goods has resulted in many companies reinvesting in its manufacturing sector, particularly those in the automotive and transportation equipment industries.”
According to the database of Kentucky manufacturers, transportation equipment continues to boost industrial employment in the state, with jobs in that sector climbing 4.2 percent over the year. Transportation equipment remains Kentucky’s top sector for industrial employment, employing 44,613.
Several automakers and related suppliers announced expansions over the year, including Toyota, which announced a $360 million expansion of its plant in Georgetown. Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products opened a newly expanded facility in Bowling Green; auto supplier Mubea opened a new factory in Florence; and Kayser Automotive Systems announced plans to establish a plant in Fulton. Other bright spots for the state included the expansion of Custom Food Products in Owingsville; Brady Corp.’s plans to open a factory in Louisville; and the opening of a Thunder Manufacturing stamping plant in Richmond.
Additional sectors in Kentucky reporting employment gains included electronics, up 8.9 percent; chemicals, up 8.6 percent; instruments/related products, up 5.6 percent; primary metals, up 4.7 percent; lumber/wood, up 3.6 percent; industrial machinery and equipment, up 1.8 percent; and food products, up 1.7 percent.
Employment losses were seen in furniture/fixtures, which declined 12.7 percent following the closure of Eagle Industries in Bowling Green, among others. Printing/publishing, fell 5.1 percent; paper products, declined 2.2 percent; and stone/clay/glass also fell 2.2 percent.
According to Manufacturers’ News, Kentucky’s northeast region accounts for the largest share of its industrial employment with 161,759 manufacturing jobs, up 3.2 percent from a year ago. Southwest Kentucky is home to 47,204 industrial jobs, up 2.3 percent. Southeast Kentucky ranks third at 43,256 jobs, down a half percent over the year, while the northwest is home to 36,112 jobs, up 4.2 percent.
Louisville remains the state’s top city for manufacturing employment, home to 55,061 jobs, up 5.4 percent over the past year. Second-ranked Lexington is home to 20,206 jobs, with no significant change reported. Industrial employment in Florence increased 7.7 percent over the year, with the third-ranked city currently home to 10,767 jobs. Bowling Green accounts for 10,506 jobs, down 2.8 percent, while Georgetown is home to 9,364 industrial jobs, down 1.6 percent over the year.