ASHLAND Economic data from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce indicates Ashland’s economy shrunk nearly 6 percent since the bottom of the global recession in 2009.

In a study officially released today, the chamber’s Senior Economic Adviser Paul Coomes compiled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and broke it down as it related to what he identified as the state’s nine economic regions, based on county-to-county worker flows and television market areas.

Ashland is labeled an economic region, which includes Lewis, Greenup, Boyd, Lawrence, Carter and Elliott counties.

“This report provides a snapshot, not just of Kentucky’s economy as a whole, but of the state’s nine economic regions,” said Chamber president and CEO Dave Adkisson, adding the statistics used by Coomes were released two weeks ago.

Though the study indicates Ashland’s economy has shrunk since the bottom of the recession, it shows wages and salary growth in all industries in Ashland has increased by 7.6 percent.

 The study also indicates Ashland’s 44.4 percent employment rate is nearly 10 percent below the state average and 13 percent below the national average. Out of the nine economic regions, Ashland ranked seven out of 10 on the employment scale, just above the economic regions of Cumberland and Mountains.

 For wage growth, Ashland has seen an increase from $9,250 in all industries in 2009 to $10,540 in all industries in 2015.

 Manufacturing jobs in the region saw a wage and salary increase from $15,533 in 2009 to $18,241 in 2015.

 Ashland’s wage and salary rate is just below the state average of $10,683, but manufacturing wages and salaries are nearly $4,000 more than the state average and about $3,000 more than the national average.

 Economic regions of Louisville and Northern Kentucky competed for all the most positive statistics in the study.

 For instance, Northern Kentucky had the highest employment rate, which was 61.8 percent, but Louisville was close behind at 58.6 percent and enjoyed a higher rate or wage and salary growth. Louisville experienced a 26.6 percent wage and salary growth compared to Northern Kentucky’s 24.9 percent wage and salary growth since 2009.

 The Mountain region repeatedly found itself at the bottom of the list. For instance, the study indicated it had a 13.2 percent drop in its employment growth rate since the bottom of the last recession and a 12.6 percent decrease in wages and salaries.

 Overall, however, the state appeared to be moving in a positive direction economically.

 “Kentucky, as a whole, added jobs (7.4 percent) at a slower clip than the U.S. (8.4 percent), but greater than the growth rate of all the border states except Tennessee and Indiana,” said Coomes. “And Kentucky now has about 20,000 more jobs than it had at the peak of the last national expansion, in 2007. Additionally, the state has added manufacturing jobs at three times the rate seen nationally, though remains 12,000 jobs below its previous cyclical peak in 2007.”

 Coomes said in a media conference call last week he believed “right to work” policies in Tennessee had something to do with its positive economic growth.

 He said Tennessee regularly out-performs Kentucky in economic growth, but suspects it may also have an advantage because of its higher number of urban centers, such as Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Chatanooga.

(606) 326-2653 |

 lbellamy@dailyindependent.com

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