Kentucky’s economy is booming. Our unemployment rate is lower than it has been in 43 years, with a reduction of 0.9% in the unemployment rate last year, which was the second biggest drop in the nation (only New Mexico had a higher drop in its unemployment rate). There are more Kentuckians working today than at any point in our history. And this jobs expansion is being enjoyed all over our Commonwealth. 118 of our 120 counties have more jobs than this time two years ago.
But the jobs expansion is not all. Today there are 57,904 fewer Kentuckians living in poverty than there were last year. This is a reduction of 1.3%. The reduction for women and children is over 2%.
And wages are up. The first quarter of 2018 brought a 5.7% increase in wages, which was the 4th biggest increase in the nation. The second quarter (the most recent on record) brought a 5.5% increase in wages, which was the 3rd biggest increase in the nation.
Last year brought over $9.2 Billion in announced investment. The previous sidle-year record was $5.4 Billion. And it is only going to get better. Due to our tax reform which reduced income tax rate 14% for every Kentuckian who paid state income taxes, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation announced that Kentucky’s tax competitiveness climate was improved from 39th to 23rd. And Kentucky has been named the best state to locate for manufacturing. The best state.
Our exports reached an all-time high of $30.9 Billion this past year. 15.2% of our Commonwealth’s GDP comes from exports, which is the third highest percentage in the nation. Kentucky’s biggest trading partner is Canada. So it is a good thing that the United States Ambassador to Canada is a Kentuckian.
The numbers keep getting better and better. Our policies are working. After decades of being on the bottom of every list, Kentucky is headed in the right direction.