Everyone is tired of bad news, even us. So when we hear about something positive, it’s exciting and interesting.
Kentucky has a positive story to offer and we hope it encourages everyone in the state and nation.
The Herald-Leader posted a story saying unemployment is down in only one city in the country: Owensboro.
The western Kentucky city is the only metropolitan area in the country to have decreased its year-over-year unemployment from June 2019 to June 2020.
Its unemployment rate was 4.4% in June 2019; it has dipped to 4.2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate is 11.2%, which is up 3.8% from 2019, the federal bureau said.
Even though Owensboro has about twice the population of Ashland, both are Kentucky cities that sit on the river. So how has the city lowered its jobless rate, especially as most economies suffer from business shutdowns because of the coronavirus?
To a degree, it’s sheer luck.
Owensboro’s larger employers include its hospital, two bourbon makers and Unifirst, a workplace uniform company that makes personal protective equipment — all goods and services in high demand during a pandemic, as we have learned this year.
But it’s also because of investment and hard work.
Castlen Brake, president and CEO of Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, said much money has gone into economic development in downtown, including a $40 million grant from the federal government. The influx of money spurred private development, which Brake said put the city “on the map.”
Ashland’s unemployment rate is 5.5%, according to bestplaces.net. While it’s not the worst, it could be better, especially if you’re asking those who are unemployed.
The Ashland area not only needs jobs, but it needs good jobs that pay at least a living wage.
Even as our area and our country battle other problems, we hope Ashland and its leaders can look at ways to emulate Owensboro, ways that will translate into success for the area.