Bluegrass Market Review | A city and region of superlatives in economic development

Situated in the middle of downtown, Commerce Lexington was named the nation's 2016 Chamber of the Year.
Situated in the middle of downtown, Commerce Lexington was named the nation’s 2016 Chamber of the Year.

mrbg-cover300Lexington sits at the epicenter of a region that serves as a health care, retail and cultural center for both Central and Eastern Kentucky. Whether you’re seeking employment or looking to start a business, Lexington is among the top cities in the nation both for job opportunities and entrepreneurs. Lexington was recently named among the Best Places for Business & Careers (Forbes), Cities With The Lowest Cost Of Living (Niche), the Fastest Growing Rate of Startups (FiveThirtyEight), and the Best Cities to Start a Business (HeroPay).

Lexington is literally in the middle of everything. Its central location and excellent transportation system have been major factors in its growth and development. Not only is Lexington 600 miles from 50 percent of the U.S. population, it sits at the crossroads of two major interstates, north-south I-75 and east-west I-64, giving companies here a logistics advantage. 

Because of relatively low utility costs, Lexington has remained a very affordable place to do business. This was certainly a contributing factor when the city was named No. 8 among Cities with the Lowest Startup Costs (Smart Asset).

A diversified economy

Lexington and the surrounding area’s robust economy is due in large part to its diversification of employment opportunities. No single employment sector comprises more than 17 percent of the labor force in the metro area. Jobs are dispersed among government, education and health care, retail trade, manufacturing, professional and business services, and construction. Because of these diverse opportunities, Lexington’s unemployment rate is typically lower than the rest of the state and nation.

The University of Kentucky, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Fayette County Public Schools, and Eastern Kentucky University are among the major employers within the Lexington MSA. Citizens also enjoy strong employment opportunities in equine related businesses, health care, retail and services. Principal manufactured products include automobiles, automobile parts, peanut butter, cutting tools, heating and air conditioning equipment, paper cups and products, software, sunroofs, and military equipment.

With an abundance of colleges and universities in the area, it’s not surprising that Lexington has one of the Most Educated Workforces in America, long ranking in the top 15 in adults with degrees. Nearly 70,000 students are enrolled in institutions of higher learning in the Bluegrass, graduating over 16,000 annually. According to U.S. Census data, Lexington ranks as the 11th-most educated city in the country in percent of population with a bachelor’s degree, and ninth for those who have attained an advanced degree. 

The combination of so many higher education institutions and global companies located within the region, along with the area’s famed equine and bourbon industries, gives Lexington an international flavor all its own. The eight counties of the Bluegrass Region are home to 21 percent of the foreign-owned facilities in Kentucky or 99 facilities with ownership from 18 different countries, providing full-time employment to over 23,900 people.

Whether you’re coming here to live, work, start a business, or play, you’ll find the Bluegrass to be welcoming and full of charm and hospitality. Find out how Commerce Lexington Inc. helps businesses grow at CommerceLexington.com or LocateInLexington.com. l

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