Whitesburg KY

Parts of Ky. have rebounded

Many Kentucky communities have rebounded from the 2008 recession, according to an analysis by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The report released this week found a largely positive picture of the state economic health.

The Courier-Journal reports the chamber found that three cities — Owensboro, Lexington and Elizabethtown — support more jobs now than they did in 2007. It also found that Louisville jobs have increased to pre-recession levels and wages and salaries increased in urban areas.

“It gives us very fresh evidence that the recovery is under way in this part of the country,” said Paul Coomes, the chamber’s senior economic adviser and author of the report.

It wasn’t all good news, though.

Wages and salaries fell in 17 counties, mostly in eastern Kentucky. The region also saw a loss of about 6,000 coal jobs.

“It’s a mixed picture, but one that clearly shows a recovery that hopefully in 2014 will gain some momentum,” said Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson.

Jefferson County had the largest boosts from jobs in health care, the scientific and technical fields, finance and insurance, real estate and local government.

While the county gained the most in the amount of wages and salaries, “it’s so big it takes a lot of growth to have a high percentage,” Coomes said. “Certainly there has been growth the last several years.”

Other areas are still in the midst of recovery. The report found that the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area is under its last peak by about 30,000 jobs, and the number is down by 2 percent across the state.

The report notes that the housing market has seen an upturn also, but still remains below its peak in 2005.

“I would say that is a good thing because we overbuilt and obviously the lending practices and regulations have been corrected since,” Coomes said. “We don’t need to have another housing boom and go down the hole we were in the last few years.”

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