HAZARD, Ky. – May 8, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Steve Beshear hoisted Kentucky’s historic Governor’s Cup trophy in Hazard today.
Gov. Beshear joined community officials to celebrate Site Selection magazine naming Kentucky the top state for economic development projects per capita last year. Communities like Hazard have worked hard to support economic development through strengthening workforce training, improving education, growing tourism, and investing in infrastructure.
“It’s an honor to receive the Governor’s Cup, but it’s the meaning behind the award that’s so significant,” said Gov. Beshear. “Think about where we were seven years ago when Kentucky’s unemployment rate was 11 percent and business growth was at a near standstill. We’ve come so far. Our statewide unemployment rate is now 5.1 percent, and the Governor’s Cup is further proof of the fruits of our labor. This success would not have been possible without this community’s dedication to supporting businesses, creating jobs and making Kentucky a better place for all of us.”
The unemployment rate in Perry County continues to decline. In March 2014 the county rate was 12.5 percent. The rate for March 2015 is 8.7 percent.
The region’s local workforce investment board, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, through a federal designation, initiated an innovative partnership between the public workforce system and the private sector to help move the region to a digital economy. Through the federal TechHire initiative, communities in eastern Kentucky will seek to accelerate training for jobs in information technology.
The eastern Kentucky region is also seeing an increase in tourism. A report released Monday showed that the economic impact of Kentucky’s tourism industry topped $13 billion in 2014, with growth in every tourism region of the state. Perry County’s 2014 Tourism Economic Impact was $48.3 million. The county’s 2014 Tourism Employment was the equivalent of 488 jobs.
“I appreciate Gov. Beshear visiting Hazard as he travels the state in celebration of the Governor’s Cup award,” said Sen. Brandon Smith of Hazard. “Hazard is an important hub of economic activity for our region, and we welcome new investment and business ventures that bring opportunity for our citizens.”
Also attending and speaking at the event were Hazard Mayor Jimmy Lindon; Joe Grossman, president and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare; Brad Hall, external affairs manager of AEP Kentucky Power Company; and Wendy Spencer, CEO of Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Governor’s Cup is just one of the Commonwealth’s recent economic development successes.
Kentucky announced more than 350 new industry location and expansion projects last year, which are projected to create nearly 15,000 jobs and more than $3.7 billion in new investment. That is the most business investment since the state started keeping track nearly 30 years ago.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Coincident Index, which measures wages, unemployment rates and payrolls, indicates Kentucky’s economic activity not only recovered from the Great Recession, but has also reached an all-time high.
Kentucky’s jobless rate is below the national average and is half of what it was during the height of the recession.
Kentucky exports reached an all-time high of more than $27.5 billion last year. It’s the fourth straight year Kentucky has set a state record.
Site Selection, an Atlanta-based publication, rates states, metropolitans and micropolitans annually for its Governor’s Cup award. The rankings are based on the number of projects that involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create 20 or more jobs or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor space.
For more on Kentucky’s Governor’s Cup, visit www.siteselection.com.