The 2017 Kentucky Annual Economic Report released by the University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) identified health care as a growing industry in Kentucky, accounting for more jobs than manufacturing, and anticipates that this trend will continue.
Health care and social assistance jobs are in high demand in Kentucky with over 7,500 advertised jobs, according to the Kentucky Career Center (on March 8, 2017). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are over 16,700 establishments within the health care and social assistance industry in Kentucky, employing over 240,000 people.
Fayette County is a major health care hub in Kentucky, with the second-most health care and social assistance establishments and employees in the state and earn the fourth-highest wages. In fact, over 23,000 people were employed in the health care and social assistance industry in Fayette County in the third quarter of 2016 (most recent data available), earning an average weekly wage of $1,041, much higher than the state average of $952.
Health care is part of the life sciences industry, one of Commerce Lexington’s strategic targets for the region. In the Bluegrass Region and Kentucky, Lexington is a hub for the life sciences industry. Lexington has leveraged its culture of innovation and commercialization, a superior business climate, top ranked research programs at the University of Kentucky, and an expansive network of medical centers to provide an environment where any market niche of the life sciences industry can grow. The life sciences industry has two components: direct patient care and biotechnology.
Direct patient care includes hospitals, nursing facilities, and medical centers, and is a prominent market in Lexington with a strong base of health care facilities, employers, and resources. There are several major medical centers including Baptist Health, Shriner’s Hospital for Children, St. Joseph Hospital (part of KentuckyOne Health), and the UK Medical Center. In fact, the UK Healthcare System is an extensive network that includes four hospitals, over 80 specialized clinics, more than 140 outreach programs, and six health professional colleges. In 2015, the UK HealthCare network served over 581,000 outpatient visitors and performed 31,200 surgeries. The Lexington Clinic, a multi-specialty medical group with 25 locations throughout the Bluegrass Region, employs 200 physicians and provides services to more than 2,000 patients every day and 600,000 patients every year.
Direct patient care is a major employment industry for Lexington, with a high-quality stock of human capital for medical professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 19,000 people were employed as health care practitioners and technicians in 2015, including more than 5,100 physicians, 1,100 dentists, 184 optometrists, 560 specialty therapists, and 7,200 registered nurses. Biotechnology includes institutions involved with animal and plant science research and designing and manufacturing medical/veterinary products. Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, and Lexington is committed to fueling its growth in the Bluegrass. In fact, over 50 biotech companies have chosen to locate in Lexington. Health care and biotechnology are supported by strong ties to academic programs at the University of Kentucky. UK’s College of Pharmacy is one of the nation’s top pharmacy programs, ranked the 6th Best Pharmacy Programs by U.S. News in 2016. The cutting-edge medical research on disease and drug development performed by the graduate students and faculty has benefited the area and the nation. Graduates enrich the workforce and faculty members have created 25 startup companies since 1989. Furthermore, UK allocates nearly $328 million to research and development annually and the overwhelming majority of UK’s R&D expenditures (over 70%) are devoted to the field of life sciences.
Seven industries are part of the life sciences: pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; medical equipment and supplies manufacturing; scientific research and development services; veterinary services; ambulatory health care services; hospitals; and nursing and residential care facilities. In 2015, around 21,000 people were employed in the life sciences, with an average annual salary of $55,800, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Check back next week to learn more about Lexington’s life sciences industry!
Click here to read more about the 2017 Kentucky Annual Economic Report.
Click here to read more about health care, life sciences, and biotech in Lexington.