Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Kentucky's Economy Is Recovering ; Owensboro Boasts State's Strongest Growth

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Kentucky's Economy Is Recovering ; Owensboro Boasts State's Strongest Growth

Article excerpt

HENDERSON, Ky. - Most cities around Kentucky are rebounding from the Great Recession, although job growth is uneven, according to a new report released today by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce that uses some of the most up-to-date data available. "It gives us very fresh evidence that the recovery is underway," according to Paul Coomes, a longtime economist at the University of Louisville who now serves as the Kentucky Chamber's senior economic adviser.

"It's not booming, but we're documenting recovery," he said during a conference call with reporters last Friday.

The Evansville-Henderson metropolitan area has seen job recovery since the depths of the recession in 2009, although some jobs have been lost over the past year and employment remains slightly behind the pre-recession level in 2007, the study reported.

Job recovery in the Evansville-Henderson area here has been comparable to the statewide average and slightly behind the national average, according to the report.

However, Coomes reported Henderson County's wage and salaries grew by only 3.3 percent between 2007 and 2012, which was only the 88th fastest out of Kentucky's 120 counties.

"Owensboro has had the strongest job growth as it bounces back from the recession," adding about 7 percent more jobs since 2007, Coomes said.

The city has benefitted from the construction and hiring at the new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital as well as ongoing construction of the new convention center and two new hotels on the city's riverfront, he noted.

Additionally, U.S. Bank last spring announced it is expanding its mortgage processing operations in Owensboro and adding 332 jobs, said Kentucky Chamber President David Adkisson, a native and former mayor of that city,.

The Clarksville, Tenn.-Hopkinsville and Elizabethtown metro areas also now have more jobs than before the recession, thanks to the presence of Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, respectively, he said. …

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