Jobs in Lexington – Mapped! Part 2

Last year’s blog entry Jobs in Lexington – Mapped! explored Robert Manduca’s Where Are The Jobs? Map, which used data from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database to map every job in the United States. At the time, 2010 was the most recent data available but 2014 data has since been published and Mr. Manduca has updated his map.

Each dot represents one job and is color-coded by industry:

  • Red – Manufacturing and Trade
  • Blue – Professional Services
  • Green – Healthcare, Education, and Government
  • Yellow – Retail, Hospitality, and Other Services


Lexington’s workforce is easily spotted on a national scale, indicating the competitiveness of our region.

Taking a closer look at the city, Lexington continues to demonstrate a healthy diverse economy, represented by all four colors and industries citywide:


Manufacturing and trade jobs (red) are concentrated around the north side of the city. Some of the city’s major manufacturers include Lockheed Martin (1,100 employees), Webasto Roof Systems (760 employees), Big Ass Solutions (701 employees), Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co. (700 employees), and Schneider Electric (500 employees), among others.

Manufacturing, particularly advanced manufacturing is a key aspect of the Bluegrass Region’s economy and is a targeted industry for Lexington’s economic development. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, there are over 2,400 manufacturers in Kentucky employing nearly 245,000 Kentuckians full time and producing national brands such as Pop-Tarts, Dixie Cups, Jif Peanut Butter (in Lexington), Post-It Notes, Hot Pockets, Kentucky Ale, Tiffany & Co. jewelry (in Lexington), numerous brands of bourbon, and automobiles such as Toyota Camrys. (Read more about Lexington’s advanced manufacturing here).

Healthcare, education, and government jobs (green) are concentrated in the center of Lexington. The two green blocks near downtown represent the University of Kentucky, which employs 12,500 people and is the largest employer in the Bluegrass Region. Programs and people at UK provide high quality talent and innovation to the workforce in all areas of the economy, strengthening and growing our economy.

Lexington has a strong base of healthcare providers with six major medical centers including Baptist Health Lexington, KentuckyOne Health, and the UK Medical Center. The UK Healthcare System is an extensive network with three hospitals and fifteen clinics. Lexington is a healthcare hub serving people from all over the Bluegrass Region and direct patient care is a major employment industry, with quality human capital for medical professionals.

The healthcare industry in Lexington is supported by strong ties to academic programs at the University of Kentucky. UK has one of the nation’s top pharmacy programs and ranks nationally in the number of R&D expenditures. In addition, Lexington is home to the only research and development business park in the state of Kentucky — UK’s Coldstream Research Campus. Coldstream, a 735-acre office park, was specifically designed for recruiting high-tech and biotech companies, as well as university centers and start-ups. (Read more about Lexington’s life sciences industry here.)

Professional service jobs (blue) have a high concentration in downtown and appear throughout the city. In 2015, Lexington’s business and professional services sector employed around 27,000 people, including legal, architectural, engineering, consulting, and real estate firms, as well as back-office support operations, accounting and payroll services, and processing facilities. The business service industry leader in Lexington is Xerox, which employs around 3,100 people. (Read more about Lexington’s professional and businesses services here.)

Retail and hospitality jobs (yellow) contribute to Lexington’s thriving visitor industries. As the heart of the horse industry, the start of the Bourbon Trail, and the home of the University of Kentucky, Lexington draws visitors for events and conferences organized by VisitLEX at the Lexington Convention Center, which contains Rupp Arena and the Lexington Opera House. In addition, Lexington has attracted visitors through both national and international events, such as the Creative Cities Summit, the Alltech World Equestrian Games, and the 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championship. Lexington is a great place for business and leisure, and growing the area’s visitor industries is an important aspect of economic development. (Read more about Lexington’s visitor industries here.)

The four colors on the Jobs Map represent the following NAICS industry codes:

  • Red, Manufacturing and Trade – 11 (Agriculture and Forestry), 21 (Mining), 22 (Utilities), 23 (Construction), 31-33 (Manufacturing), 42 (Wholesale Trade), 48-49 (Transportation and Warehousing)
  • Blue, Professional Services – 51 (Information), 52 (Finance and Insurance), 53 (Real Estate), 54 (Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services), 55 (Management of Companies and Enterprises)
  • Green, Healthcare, Education, and Government – 61 (Educational Services), 62 (Health Care), 81 (Other Services – largely Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations)
  • Yellow, Retail, Hospitality, and Other Services – 44-45 (Retail Trade), 56 (Administrative and Support Services), 71 (Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation – largely Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation), 72 (Accommodation and Food Services)


3.8% July Unemployment Rate Lowest Since 2001!

According to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, Lexington’s July unemployment rate (the most recent available) was 3.8%, the lowest July unemployment rate since 2001! (When looking at the unemployment rate over long periods of time, it’s a good idea to use the same month over time to avoid seasonal fluctuations.)

July2016 Unemployment

Lexington’s unemployment rate remained steady between 4.1% and 4.8% during 2002 through 2007, averaging 4.4% before spiking in July 2009, similar to other regions’ unemployment rates throughout the nation during that time due to the recession. Since then, the unemployment rate has generally decreased by about 1 percentage point every year. Last year represented a return to pre-recession levels, reinforced by this year’s even lower July unemployment rate.

Immigrants in Lexington

Building off of last week’s blog, let’s take a look at immigrants in Lexington. (Unfortunately, much Census data available at the state level for the foreign born population is not available at the county level, such as occupations, so there’s less information than was presented in the New Americans in Kentucky report.)

According to Census data, just over 26,500 Lexington residents were born in another country, or roughly 9% of Lexington’s population, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the state’s immigrant population. Most originated from Mexico (32%) followed by China (9%), India (5%), and Japan (4%). Of these 26,500 people, nearly 28% have naturalized and become U.S. citizens, while 73% have not.

Like Kentucky immigrants in general, Lexington’s foreign born population is primarily working age: 71% are between 25 and 64 years old, whereas only 52% of the native population falls in that age range. Consequently, a higher percentage of immigrants are in the labor force (75%) than native born Lexingtonians (68%).

Less than 10% of Lexington’s immigrants are less than 18 years old (compared to 22% of the native born population), so it’s not surprising that immigrants tend to be enrolled in preschool and k-12 schools at lower rates than the native born population and are less likely to have a high school diploma. However, they are more likely to be enrolled in college or graduate school (63%, compared to 45% of the native born population) and more likely to have an advanced degree (22%, compared to 16% of Lexington’s foreign born population).

Lexington is also home to many foreign owned companies, such as Coldstream Laboratories purchased by Piramal Enterprises Limited of India, Funai Lexington Technology Corporation purchased by Funai Electric Company, Ltd. of Japan, Florida Tile purchased by Panariagroup of Italy, CLARK Material Handling Company purchased by Young An Hat Company of Korea, and Link-Belt Construction Equipment Company owned by Sumitomo Heavy Industries of Japan, to name only a few.

In 2015, Lexington ranked #4 Top 10 Small American City of the Future for FDI Strategy by fDi Intelligence, in recognition of our city’s economic potential, business friendliness, human capital assets, lifestyle, cost effectiveness, and connectivity. Foreign investors have also started small businesses in the region, including popular pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops, and invested in our horse industry by purchasing farm land and thoroughbreds.

The Contributions of New Americans in Kentucky

The New American Economy recently produced an overview of immigrants in Kentucky. The report analyzed multiple data sources, including the Census Bureau, and summarized the contributions of immigrants in Kentucky in several important areas. Take a look at a few key findings from The Contributions of New Americans in Kentucky.

KY Immigrants_1

Demographics – 160,000 Kentucky residents were born in another country, accounting for 3.6% of the state’s population. This may seem small, but the percentage has been increasing since 1990, when less than 1% of the state’s population was foreign-born. Furthermore, immigrants tend to have greater impacts on entrepreneurship, income and tax contribution, the labor force, STEM occupations, healthcare, and other aspects of our economy than would be expected from a group that makes up only 3.6% of the population.

Role of Immigrants as Entrepreneurs – In 2014, over 7,700 immigrants in Kentucky are self-employed, accounting for 5.0% of the state’s total entrepreneurs. These businesses make important contributions to our economy. In 2014, immigrant-owned businesses earned $315 million and employed 35,000 people in 2007 (most recent data). Equally impressive, 20% of Kentucky’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

Income and Tax Contributions – In 2014, immigrant households in Kentucky earned $3.8 billion, representing 3.8% of the state population’s total income. Of this, immigrants contributed $343 million to state and local taxes, $719 million to federal taxes, and $513 to Social Security and Medicare programs, with $2.8 billion in remaining spending power.

Role of Immigrants in the Broader Workforce – Immigrants’ age and educational profile is slightly different than the average native-born Kentuckian. Immigrants tend to be working age (25 to 64 years) at higher rates (67%) than Kentuckians (52%) and are less likely to be younger (0 to 24 years) or older (65+ years). Partially because of this, immigrants are 37% more likely to be actively employed and make up 5% of the state’s employed labor force. Immigrants are also 77% more likely to have an advanced degree, but 87% more likely to have less than a high school diploma. Thus they are good candidates for both high-level positions that require expertise and for lower-level positions. The occupations with the largest share of foreign-born workers tend to be in healthcare, technology, and agriculture.

KY Immigrants_2

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – STEM occupations are expected to grow nearly 40% faster than the U.S. economy as a whole between 2014 and 2024. In 2014, 11.7% of Kentucky’s STEM workers were immigrants. In that same year, 14% of Kentucky’s STEM Master’s degree students and 38% of Kentucky’s STEM PhD students were immigrants, indicating that immigrants will continue to support Kentucky’s STEM industries into the future.

Healthcare – The Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2024 anticipates that healthcare jobs will be the fastest growing industry in the next ten years, increasing by 38.2% and adding the most new jobs. Currently, 22% of doctors and 29% of psychiatrists in Kentucky are graduates of foreign medical schools, as were 1.7% of nurses and 2.4% of health aides, likely indicating that these healthcare professionals were foreign-born.

Housing – In 2014, over 26,000 Kentucky immigrants owned over $5 billion in housing wealth and produced 7.3% of Kentucky’s rental income.

Naturalization – Just over 35% of Kentucky’s immigrants have already naturalized and become citizens, as of 2014. Another 52,000 (or 50%) are eligible to naturalize (non-citizens at least 18 years old, with at least 5 years of residence in the Untied States, and proficient in English).

International Students – The report found that Kentucky is home to approximately 7,000 international college students with temporary visas (the NASFA Open Doors program has a slightly higher number, as discussed in a previous blog). Although these students represent only 2.9% of all Kentucky college students, they support over 1,600 jobs.

Voting Power – More than 50,000 of Kentucky’s immigrants were eligible to vote in 2014 and an estimated 33,000 were actually registered, constituting 2% of Kentucky’s eligible voters. It is much more likely that these voters could affect local or state elections than national races.


Commerce Lexington Named Chamber of the Year!

Commerce Lexington has been awarded Chamber of the Year!

ACCE Chamber of the Year 2016

Commerce Lexington Named ‘Chamber of the Year’ by Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

Marketing Project Receives Grand Award in Communications Excellence
Commerce Lexington Inc. was named “Chamber of the Year” in the large chamber category (Category 4) during the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) annual convention in Savannah, Georgia.  At an awards program last night, Commerce Lexington Inc. President and CEO Bob Quick and a portion of its staff accepted the honor from ACCE, after competing against other category finalists, which included other chambers from Brooklyn (NY), Jacksonville (FL), and Tacoma-Pierce County (WA).

ACCE’s Chamber of the Year Award recognizes the dual role chambers have in leading businesses and communities, honoring excellence in operations, member services, and community leadership. The comprehensive awards program includes an operations survey where chambers must meet key performance areas, an application that details two programs or initiatives, and finally in-person interviews with leaders from each finalist chamber conducted by a judging committee.

Mr. Quick said, “This is the pinnacle for our organization, as well as our entire membership, the board of directors and volunteers, and the many partners with whom we work on a daily basis. The award not only affirms that we are doing quality work in events and programs across our organization, but also recognizes the efforts of many great people throughout the region working day-in and day-out to strengthen Central Kentucky.”

In addition to the Chamber of the Year Award, Commerce Lexington Inc. also received one of ACCE’s top communications/marketing honors – a Grand Award – for the Economic Development Division’s “Here’s Our Proof” marketing campaign during the 2015 Breeders’ Cup.  Partnering with VisitLEX, this Bourbon box marketing gift showcased Lexington as a great place for business and a top location for conventions and tourism.


Originally posted on Commerce Lexington’s other blog.