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Press Release

Annualized payroll employment growth has slowed in Kentucky, but there are reasons to remain upbeat about the near-term outlook, says Cleveland Fed economist

While annualized payroll employment growth in Kentucky has slowed since the beginning of 2016, largely as a result of softness in the manufacturing and energy sectors, many regions in Kentucky continue to enjoy strong job growth, according to Gary A. Wagner, vice president and senior regional officer of the Cincinnati Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

“In the most recent three-month period for which data are available (July through September 2016), annualized payroll job growth in the Commonwealth was 2.5 percent, well ahead of the 1.6 percent growth experienced by the US during the same time period,” says Wagner.

Although the structural changes in the coal industry continue to create significant hurdles for job seekers in rural and eastern Kentucky communities in particular, Wagner notes that the recent job gains have been fairly broad based across different sectors and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

“Two notable frontrunners for the Commonwealth are the financial services and education and health services sectors, both of which have outpaced the nation in job growth over the past year,” says Wagner.

According to Wagner, the timing of the job gains during the past few years has corresponded closely to the bounce back in consumer spending that began in late 2013 or early 2014.

“Since consumer spending, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of the national economy, remains close to its historical average, and household balance sheets remain healthy in the aggregate, there are reasons to remain upbeat about the near-term outlook in the service side of both the nation’s and the Commonwealth’s economies,” says Wagner.

Read State of the State: Kentucky.

Looking for more information about the region served by the Cleveland Fed — Ohio, eastern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia? You’ll find it here:

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.218.1892