Economy

Flickr/Creative Commons/401kcalculator.org

A new report says one-third of the more than $9 billion in announced investments for Kentucky last year wasn’t attached to any new jobs. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development said the state gave away more than $361 million in tax incentives in 2017.  

According to the report from the left-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, the state no longer releases a report listing facilities that closed in the state, making it difficult to determine how many net new jobs were created.

The report identified 1,209 jobs associated with Toyota’s $1.33 billion investment in 2017. But multiple news stories indicate no new jobs were connected to this investment, and the state’s Cabinet for economic development granted $43.5 million in tax breaks for the project.

South Central Workforce Development Board

The president of the South Central Workforce Development Board is optimistic that impending changes to Medicaid will help fill some of the region’s open jobs. 

After a court challenge, Kentucky won re-approval last week of its Medicaid waiver that contains a community engagement requirement that must be met to receive benefits.  Medicaid enrollees, with some exceptions, have the option of finding work, going to school, or volunteering. 

Flickr Creative Commons Zach Frailey

Fewer Kentucky children are living in poverty now compared to 2017. That’s according to the new Kentucky Youth Advocates County Data Book, which looks at 17 measures of child well-being. The percentage of children living in poverty improved in 93 out of 120 counties.

 

Despite the improvements, nearly one in four Kentucky kids still live in poverty. On the bright side, Kentucky saw high school graduation rates increase in 119 of 167 school districts, and more children throughout the state have health insurance. Terry Brooks, Executive Director with Kentucky Youth Advocates, said the Commonwealth has the highest rate of children living in kinship care and the second highest rate of children with parents who are incarcerated.

JULIETA MARTINELLI / WPLN

Nashville will be home to a new distribution hub for the retail giant Amazon, bringing 5,000 corporate jobs to the city in what public officials are describing as the "single largest jobs commitment" in the state's history.

The announcement comes the same day as the highly anticipated Amazon decision of where to open a second headquarters. The Seattle-based company says it will divide the new headquarters between two East Coast cities: New York City and Arlington, Va., in the Washington, D.C., area. Each of those sites is expected to gain 25,000 jobs.

ThinkStock

New research finds that Kentucky law puts those who take out installment loans at risk. The Pew Charitable Trust is calling for more protection and transparency for borrowers. This type of lending hasn’t been researched as much as payday loans until now.

 

Payday lenders in Kentucky can charge interest rates averaging 469 percent and while installment loans cost less, they have other risky features. The study shows origination fees and expensive credit insurance drives up the cost of installment loans.

Bowling Green Young Professionals

Bridging the gaps between generations is important as today’s work places become increasingly multi-generational, with people continuing to work later in life and new faces entering the work force every day.

Every generation comes with a set of stereotypes—many of them unflattering.

Katrina Burch is an industrial organization psychologist at Western Kentucky University. She’s also a millennial, a member of the group born from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s.


Aaron Payne

Thousands of union coal miners and their families gathered this summer in Columbus, Ohio, wielding signs and wearing camouflage United Mine Workers of America shirts.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts led the crowd in a call-and-response chant.

“I want you to send a loud, clear signal that we are one! We are one!”

But the miners weren’t there for a strike or to picket a company over a contract dispute. They were demonstrating to draw attention to an often overlooked issue: Pensions.


Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

Westmoreland Coal Company, one of the oldest mining companies in the country, became the second major coal bankruptcy of the Trump presidency Tuesday when the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Texas court.

The company, which has a substantial presence in the Ohio Valley, has for years faced mounting difficulties as it continued to take on debt while many of the power plants that used its coal announced they intend to close or switch to cleaner fuels.


Appalachian Regional Commission Facebook

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced Thursday the latest recipients of grants designed to help struggling coal communities. The ARC will spend an additional $26 million for 35 new grants in its POWER initiative, the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization. Sixteen of those awards will go to projects in the Ohio Valley region.  

 

The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky was awarded one million dollars for their Community Oriented Access to Learning program. The initiative is focused on the health and information technology sectors. The program expects to add 50 health worker students in a field related to their training, 110 in information technology and 26 in broadband technology. Wendy Wasserman is the spokesperson for the Appalachian Regional Commission.


Becca Schimmel

U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie wants to bring broadband access to more Kentuckians. He said it helps economic development as well as quality of life.

About 22 percent of Kentuckians don’t have access to broadband. One of the biggest challenges with providing reliable internet access to more people is building the infrastructure. Guthrie said better access to faster internet means connecting more people to flexible work and allowing companies to remain competitive.

 

“So even if you’re doing old school manufacturing it uses modern technology and you have to have it,” he told WKU Public Radio. “So if you have counties that just don’t have it overall they just can’t compete in terms of trying to attract businesses to put people to work and grow the county.”

JESSE WRIGHT / WEST VIRGINIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING

The Justice family companies’ difficulties paying taxes over the years are well documented. But tax collectors haven’t been the only ones trying to recover debts from companies once operated by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and now in control of his family.

A review of court documents by the Ohio Valley ReSource found at least five cases in which judges ruled that Justice family companies failed to pay suppliers for goods or services. When compelled by courts to pay, the companies either refused or failed to meet agreed upon payments.


Becca Schimmel

New data shows Kentucky is seeing an increase in counties that have more workers than available jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor report shows most of the Kentucky counties with a high labor surplus are in the more rural parts of the state.

The DOL issues the report at the beginning of every federal fiscal year. To be designated as one of these areas, a city or county has to have an average unemployment rate of 20 percent or more above the national rate for the past two calendar years.

The Department of Transportation has announced new federal voluntary guidance on the development and use of automated vehicles — with the goal of "removing unnecessary barriers" to innovation.

GE Appliances To Add 400 Jobs In Louisville

Oct 1, 2018
General Electric

GE Appliances is expanding its facilities in Louisville with more than $200 million in investments to expand dishwasher and laundry production. It will also add 400 jobs here, officials announced Monday.

The investments will help GE Appliances, which was bought by China-based Haier in 2016, expand its laundry and dishwasher production capabilities and expand product lines, its president and CEO Kevin Nolan said.

U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes

New research this month shows that West Virginia and Kentucky have some of the nation’s worst rates of student loan defaults.

West Virginia had the highest and Kentucky the fourth-highest rate of student loan defaults, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education.

In West Virginia, 17.7 percent of students who entered loan repayment in 2015 had defaulted three years later. New Mexico and Nevada were second and third, and Kentucky came in fourth, with 14.3 percent of students unable to pay back their loans. At 12.2 percent, Ohio ranked near the middle, tying Michigan for 14th place.


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