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Press Release

Lexington’s economy shows signs of regaining momentum, labor force participation, say Cleveland Fed researchers

Lexington metro area’s economic health showed mixed signals towards the end of 2018, but newer data suggest conditions improved in the first half of 2019. The metro area’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in June 2019—one of the lowest unemployment rates it has seen since 2001. Labor force participation was up during the past 12 months even as the unemployment rate dipped, indicating that there were more new jobs than new workers, on balance, 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 per capita GDP has ticked down. After a period of robust growth (8.0 percent) from 2014-2016, the Lexington metro area’s GDP per capita fell approximately 0.5 percent in 2017. The metro area’s trends were in sharp contrast to those in Kentucky and the United States, both of which saw slower growth from 2014 to 2016 but stronger growth in 2017 (0.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively).

Examining the housing market, home values in the Lexington metro area have continued to grow, up 5.3 percent year over year in June 2019. The median value of a home in the metro area was $179,200 in June, higher than Kentucky’s ($145,800) but still well below the nationwide median of $227,700.

For more of Kaglic’s 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.

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