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Press Release

Lexington’s economy showing mixed signals, say Cleveland Fed researchers

At 3.2 percent in January 2019, the Lexington metro area’s unemployment rate remains historically low. At the same time, total employment in the metro area decreased by approximately 0.3 percent in the year leading up to September 2018, driven by large declines in construction, professional and business services, and trade, transportation, and utilities, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland researchers Rick Kaglic and Tristan Young.

Writing in the Bank’s latest Lexington Metro Mix, Kaglic and Young also note that GDP per capita and income per capita both ticked down in recent months. After experiencing robust growth of 7.9 percent from June 2014 to June 2016, the Lexington metro area’s GDP per capita fell at a 0.7 percent annualized rate in the first half of 2017. And income per capita in the metro area fell 0.7 percent from June of 2016 to June of 2017, indicating the population was growing faster than aggregate income.

Examining the housing market, Kaglic and Young note that home values in the Lexington metro area have grown strongly and steadily, increasing 5.7 percent year-over-year every month from November 2018 through February 2019. However, the metro area still under performed the state and the nation, which saw average year-over-year growth rates of 6.6 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, during the same period. The median home value in the Lexington metro area was $177,300 in February 2019, higher than Kentucky’s ($144,700) but lower than the United States’ ($226,300).

For more of Kaglic and Young’s insights on economic conditions in the Lexington area, read our latest Lexington Metro Mix.

And browse our region for data, maps, research, and other information related to the diverse economies and communities in the region served by the Cleveland Fed: Ohio, eastern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Lexington ranks among the top 10 metro areas in shares of employment opportunities for workers without a college degree

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Philadelphia identifies jobs that do not require a four-year college degree and give workers the opportunity to earn above the national annual median wage of $37,690 (adjusted for differences in regional price levels). These jobs are the focus of "Opportunity Occupations Revisited: Exploring Employment for Sub-Baccalaureate Workers Across Metro Areas and Over Time." Find fact sheets for Lexington and the other metro areas examined in the report 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,, 513.455.4479