Report Details Auto Industry's Impact on Kentucky

Jun 4, 2015


A study measuring the economic impact of Kentucky’s automotive industry finds $1 out of every $13 in the state’s economy is tied to the industry.

Governor Steve Beshear joined industry leaders Wednesday in releasing results of a six-month study conducted by the University of Louisville.

"The industry directly employs about 80,000 people and when you add the indirect jobs, it's about 136,000 people all across this state," explained Beshear.  "The average salary is about $60,000."

The study was commissioned by the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, a group formed last year to address the industry’s challenges and to raise its profile.

"While folks think of Kentucky as the home of bourbon and the Derby, most of them don't know that we're the third largest producer of cars and light trucks in the country," Beshear said.

Kentucky is home to the Toyota plant in Georgetown, the Ford plant in Louisville, and the Corvette plant in Bowling Green. 

Kentucky’s exports for vehicles and parts were up 28 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The state will host its first automotive conference in September.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The industry contributes $14.3 billion to Kentucky's gross state product (GSP). Roughly $1 out of every $13 in the state’s economy is tied to the automotive industry.
  • Kentucky’s automotive manufacturers and suppliers contribute $6.1 billion to payrolls annually.
  • The average annual wage of a manufacturing employee in the automotive sector is $58,280.
  • Automotive-related businesses directly employ 85,552 workers at more than 470 establishments in Kentucky.
  • Automotive-related manufacturers and suppliers support 136,500 jobs in Kentucky. Roughly 1 out of every 18 jobs in the state is supported by the direct, indirect or induced effects of automotive-related manufacturers.
  • $1 out of every $14 in state taxes results from the automotive industry. A total of $488 million annually in state income and sales taxes come from industry-supported jobs.
  • One-fifth of the state’s exports last year were tied to the auto industry. The value of Kentucky’s automotive-related exports totaled $5.9 billion in 2014.
  • Existing and new employers in Kentucky’s automotive industry have announced $5 billion in investments over the last five years, and nearly 20,000 new jobs have been announced.