Job creation, expansion, and retention are at the core of economic development. Numbers and an accompanying narrative are usually used to explain the economic state of Lexington and the Bluegrass Region, but an exciting new format has just been released.
Robert Manduca, a PhD student at Harvard University, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database to create an interactive map of jobs, modeled after Dustin Cable’s Racial Dot Map.
Every job in the United States is plotted on this map–or at least all of the jobs enrolled in state unemployment insurance programs and some federal jobs. In total, 96% of civilian wage and salary jobs are included.
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
The job clusters of the Golden Triangle between Lexington, Louisville, and Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati are fairly sizable and easy to see, even zoomed out far enough to view the entire continental country. This high concentration of jobs is good news for our region and demonstrates our competitiveness.
Take a look at the Bluegrass Region and the surrounding area:
A few details that reflect the region’s major employers pop out:
- Frankfort is mostly green, which is expected from the state capitol.
- The red area north of Lexington (around Georgetown) is Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Scott County, the second largest employer in the region with 7,900 employees.
- The red grouping to the east of the city is Lockheed Martin, another major employer with around 1,100 employees.
- The red grouping near Berea is Tokico (USA) Inc. (Hitachi) in Madison County with 1,350 employees.
- The red area near Versailles consists of Osram Sylvania Glass Plant, Quad/Graphics, Pilkington North America, Inc., and Yokohama Industries America Inc. in Woodford County. Together these companies employ almost 2,400 people.
- The red south of Lexington is the Enterprise Industrial Park in Jessamine County.
Lexington has a mix of all four colors and industries, illustrating the city’s healthy economic diversity.
Healthcare, education, and government jobs (green dots) and manufacturing and trade jobs (red dots) are clearly prominent in Lexington.
Education is one of Lexington’s strengths. Just over 40% of Lexingtonians have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 17.2% have a graduate or professional degree, far above the national and state averages. Not surprisingly, the University of Kentucky is the region’s largest employer with 12,430 employees and is primarily represented by a solid block of green in the near-center of the city. Fayette County Public Schools is also a major employer with 5,427 employees spread throughout the city boosting the number of green dots.
Healthcare facilities also sustain a sizeable portion of the workforce in Lexington. Theses jobs appear throughout the city, with large concentrations in the south-center, center, and south-east. In addition to providing an abundance of quality patient care, these centers conduct cutting-edge research and help attract biotech and high-tech companies. Below are a few of the highest healthcare employers:
- KentuckyOne Health: 3,000 employees
- Baptist Health: 1,924 employees
- Veterans Medical Center: 1,565 employees
- Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital: 1,000 employees
Manufacturing is another major part of Lexington’s economy. The majority of manufacturing and trade jobs are concentrated in the north area of Lexington and include some of the city’s major employers: Lexmark (2,145 employees), Amazon.com (1,200 employees), Trane (1,000 employees), Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co. (750 employees), Webasto Roof Systems (720 employees), Big Ass Solutions (550 employees), and Schneider Electric (500 employees), among others.
The Fayette Mall and Hamburg Pavilion shopping centers are also easily distinguishable.
Maps like this are an excellent tool when planning transportation, housing, emergency routes, city services provision, zoning, and events. By showing the spatial patterns, clusters, and concentrations of industries and jobs, maps offer another way to understand the community’s economy and compare to other cities.
For data nerds, the NAICS codes used are:
- 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)
Note: Data represents 2010.