With President Obama’s ‘State of the Union’ address this past Tuesday having focused primarily on the concept of ‘economic fairness’ and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniel’s Republican response serving as yet another blanket-rebuke of the administration’s policies, it’s safe to say that both sides are quite invested in the country’s ever-so-slow upward crawl back to relative prosperity. Indeed, the status of the economy is poised to make or break incumbent campaigns on both sides of the aisle this year (just ask U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, who filed for a 4th term re-election bid earlier this month), and so it was with cautious optimism that the latest Kentucky unemployment numbers were greeted earlier this week, revealing the unemployment rate to have fallen in most Kentucky counties, but still lagging half a percentage point behind the national average.
The latest data reveals that statewide unemployment has fallen to 9.1%, with all but six counties showing positive movement since the previous month, but behind the new national average of 8.5%. “9.1% is still remarkably high,” commented Robert Kahne, Masters of Public Policy and Healthcare Consultant at a local firm, “but at least we are moving more in line with the national average.” Kahne went on to explain that within an economic recovery it is the higher paying jobs that are the first to return, and therefore that states like Kentucky (unfortunately lacking relative to others in both education rates and employment as an extension) historically find themselves positioned on the back-end of the ‘rising tide’. Sitting now at 9% and down from 11% at the start of 2011, Louisville’s own employment outlook is only slightly better than the rest of the Commonwealth and yet still represents the lowest rate in all of the past three years.
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