Business and Professional Services

The business and professional services industry provides services and support for other businesses in various industries. Primary services are highly technical and specialized services, such as legal, architectural, engineering, and consulting, that require expertise and extensive training. Secondary services are routine basic services that support daily activities, such as back-office support operations, accounting, and processing facilities. These services help companies operate, and the business and professional services industry is a targeted industry for Lexington’s economic development. In 2015, approximately 28,200 people were employed in Lexington’s business and professional service industry, earning an average of $49,268 per year. Average salaries ranged from $75,100 for primary services such as management of companies and enterprises (averaging $120,500) and professional and technical services (averaging $66,300) to $26,800 for secondary services such as administrative and support services.

businessprofessionalservices2016Companies engaged in providing business and professional services tend to concentrate in metropolitan areas near their clients, such as cities like Lexington. Back-office and support services companies tend to prefer lower-cost locations in proximity to major metropolitan areas. Lexington is one of the lowest cost-of-business locations in the country and has a business friendly environment. In fact, Lexington was named #8 City with the Lowest Startup Costs by SmartAsset in 2016 and #16 Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes in 2015.

Check back to learn about Business and Professional Services Industry Leaders in Lexington!

Smart Cookies!

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released 2015 data and Lexington has ranked among the most educated communities in the United States!

41.6% of Lexingtonians over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, ranking our city #11 in the nation among cities with at least 300,000 people. Equally impressive, 18.9% have an advanced degree, ranking Lexington #9 in the nation.


Furthermore, 60.1% of Lexington residents ages 18 through 24 are currently enrolled in college or graduate school (ranking Lexington #10 among large cities), ensuring that Lexington will continue to have talented, highly educated people for all industries.


The ten institutions of higher education in the Bluegrass Region offer programs that enrich our workforce and help our industries thrive. Let’s look at a few programs.

The University of Kentucky offers dozens of programs for every aspect of the economy:

  • Students and faculty at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center are engaged in research for the horse industry, and the Ag Equine Programs offer services to clients related to horses and farms.
  • NASA Kentucky, located on UK’s campus, operates the Space Grant Consortium and EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) programs, which support students, research, and workforce development.
  • Eastern Kentucky University’s Aviation program offers the nation’s first FAA-approved 1,000-hour power aviation degree program, preparing students for an array of aerospace and aviation careers.
  • The National Air & Space Institute/Air & Space Academy operates in high schools throughout Kentucky, including several in the Bluegrass Region, introducing students to aerospace concepts and skills through a STEM curriculum.
  • Lexington’s growing hospitality services and tourism industry is supported by programs at the University of Kentucky and Sullivan University, including new classes on the bourbon industry offered at UK.
  • The University of Kentucky Department of Engineering prepares students for a variety of industries. For example, the Biosystems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering programs that prepare undergraduate and graduate students for positions in advanced manufacturing. In addition, the University of Kentucky also offers a Graduate Certification in Lean Systems and is home to the Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing (ISM), a multidisciplinary organization that brings together faculty members, graduate students, university partners, industry partners, and research organizations such as the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation (KSEF), the National Science Federation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the US Army, and the US Department of Education.
  • Venture Studio helps members of the UK community, including undergraduates, graduate students, post docs, faculty, and staff, turn business ideas into reality by providing real-world startup experience and access to resource such as angel investors and pitch competitions
  • Many companies are created from research conducted at the University of Kentucky, such as the biotech company AntiOp Inc., which creates an anti-overdose nasal spray to help save lives from heroin overdoses, invented by Daniel Wermeling, a UK College of Pharmacy professor. In fact, graduates of the College of Pharmacy have created  25 startup companies since 1989, including Wermeling’s AntiOp.

These programs only scratch the surface of the exceptional educational opportunities offered to students here in Lexington and the Bluegrass Region.

Of course, Lexington’s public and private K-12 schools help prepare students to excel in college. The city’s elementary and secondary schools operate several magnet programs to teach students advanced math, technology, applied skills, and foreign languages. In addition, there are several multi-school gifted and talented programs, such as the Spanish Immersion Program, the Elementary and Middle School Accelerated Programs, and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA).


Lexington, KY Downtown Development Snapshot 2016

The Lexington Downtown Development Authority recently released the Downtown Snapshot 2016, a publication that examines quality of life and economic vitality trends in Lexington, with an emphasis on downtown development and community growth.

Some findings from the Downtown Snapshot 2016 include:

  • Downtown Lexington hosted over 2.8 million overnight visitors, 74% in town for leisure and 26% for business.
  • Thirteen licensed bourbon distillers are within a 45 minute drive of downtown Lexington.
  • There are 187 restaurants and bars in and around the Central Business District, with 17 new restaurants, bars, and retail stores opening since 2014.
  • Major projects from the past year and a half include the Town Branch Commons linear park, Euclid Avenue and South Limestone commercial corridors, the renovation of the Historic Fayette County Courthouse, and the Gigabit City Initiative.
  • Recent development and investment in downtown total $1.49 billion in 27 projects, including $338 million in completed projects, $957.8 million in projects under construction, and $193.8 million in pre-development projects.
  • The University of Kentucky projects are a significant part of the development and investment in downtown Lexington, and over 30,700 students contribute to the knowledge economy of our city, as do more than 6,400 students at BCTC and 1,000 students at Transylvania University.

Want to learn more about Lexington? Read the full report here!

Lexington’s Unemployment Rate is 3.3%!

According to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, Lexington’s unemployment rate reached a low of 3.3% in August (most recent data available, preliminary), the lowest August unemployment rate since August 2000, when it was 2.9%. This August’s 3.3% is also the lowest unemployment rate this year, except for April 2016 when it was also 3.3%.


In fact, 3.3% is the lowest unemployment rate in Lexington since January 2001, when it was 3.1%.


In 2000, unemployment rates ranged from 2.5% to 3.5% but ranged from 3% to 5% from early 2001 through June 2008, when it began increasing above 5% before jumping to 6.9% in January 2009 and 8.1% just one month later in February 2009, reaching a peak of 8.8% in June 2009. Since then, the unemployment rate has steadily decreased, and has ranged between 4.3% and 3.3% this year.