Business and the Economy

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Two Kentucky agencies are among 32 organizations nationwide benefiting from almost $17 million in federal funding to help low income-citizens buy fruits and vegetables. 

The assistance goes beyond the purchase of produce.

 


Stu Johnson

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the grand opening and expansion of a Lexington-based technology company Tuesday.

Fooji Incorporated specializes in brand promotion using familiar tools of social media.


Stu Johnson

Automobile executives from across Kentucky and beyond have been briefed this week on many facets affecting their industry during the annual Autovision conference in Lexington.

Among the topics has been materials used in building today’s vehicles.


Lexington-based Lexmark Incorporated will cut 700 employees from its payroll during the next year. 

The company announced the cuts Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment has awarded The Pennyrile Area Development District nearly $1.7 million for economic development efforts around Fort Campbell. 

The federal government is directing nearly $4 million to two Eastern Kentucky projects in an effort to create jobs and opportunities.

The state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet announced the grants earlier this week. The money from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot program will fund projects in Prestonsburg in Floyd County and Royalton in Magoffin County.

Hundreds are gathered today in Pikeville, Kentucky, for the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, Innovation summit on revitalizing the economy in Eastern Kentucky.

Part of the emphasis of the SOAR initiative is retraining the region’s workers for jobs away from the coal industry, which has imploded in recent years. And one of the solutions that has emerged is a burgeoning technology sector.

Unemployment Rates Up In 96 Kentucky Counties

Jul 28, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say unemployment rates have increased in 96 of the state’s 120 counties between June 2016 and June 2017.

The state Office of Employment and Training says the unemployment rate fell in 20 counties during that period and stayed the same in four counties.

The agency says Woodford County had the state’s lowest jobless rate at 3.8 percent. It was followed by Shelby County at 4.2 percent and Oldham County and Spencer counties at 4.3 percent each.

During a legislative hearing Thursday, lawmakers expressed anger over the delayed launch and uncertain financial outlook of KentuckyWired, a broadband internet program that is supposed to stretch fiber optic cable to every county in the state.

The initiative has been hampered by difficulties in setting up agreements with owners of telephone poles that the fiber optic wire needs to hang from.

kyfb.com

The president of the Kentucky Farm Bureau has offered suggestions as Congress works to adopt a new federal farm bill. 

Mark Haney appeared this week before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.


Moody’s has downgraded Kentucky’s credit rating because of the low funding level of the state’s pension systems and lackluster revenue gleaned from taxes.

The news comes after the state missed its own revenue prediction by $135 million at the end of the last fiscal year, which finished on June 30.

Kentucky’s seasonally-adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for June 2017 was 5.1 percent, according to the state's Office of Employment and Training.

The June  rate was up one tenth of a percentage point from the five percent reported in May.


Cheri Lawson

The City of Williamstown has rejected the latest request by the Ark Encounter theme park to reduce the amount of a new “safety assessment fee.”

Earlier this year, the city imposed a per-ticket charge of 50 cents to cover the cost of increased police and fire services.


A member of the Federal Communications Commission will visit the Ohio Valley on Tuesday to hear from rural communities who lack broadband internet access.

Kentucky Horse Park Hosts Model Horse Fest

Jul 14, 2017
kentuckytourism.com

For the 28th consecutive year, thousands of people are converging on the Kentucky Horse Park this weekend to see and show off model horses. 

This year's Breyer Fest features an India theme.

In addition to "live" and model horse activities for collectors and visitors, the three-day festival includes a focus on cultural aspects of India.  BreyerFest participants can take in Bollywood dancing, tent-pegging, and polo.  


Cheri Lawson

 

A controversial theme park in Grant County is celebrating its first anniversary. But, so far, the Ark Encounter hasn’t floated everybody’s boat.

Taking pictures at the park’s entrance under an amusement park sized orange sign with big white letters announcing "ARK Encounter," the Botcher family from South Milwaukee is enthusiastic about their vacation in Kentucky.

 

"It’s The Ark so we’re hoping to see the size and get to see some of the animals inside."

 

lexingtonky.gov

A golf is recommending several significant changes in how Lexington operates its five  public golf courses.

The suggestions discussed at Tuesday’s council work session include increasing greens fees, keeping only Picadome golf course open during the winter, and changing senior golfer discount eligibility.


A Kentucky hotel would have hosted two conventions that reportedly pulled out of negotiations due to California's state-funded travel ban, the hotel's general manager said.

"We received calls from each convention withdrawing from negotiations due to the California ban," Omni Louisville Hotel General Manager Scott Stuckey said in a release Saturday. "We have used discretion in discussing the issue and have not identified the conventions, in hopes that we could persuade them to do business with Omni and Louisville in the future."

Kentucky’s bourbon industry could find itself in the middle of a potential trade war between the United States and the European Union.

Stu Johnson

For the first time, the Extreme Mustang Makeover is taking place in central Kentucky. 

The competition brings trainers and their mustang horses to the All-Tech Arena to demonstrate disciplined maneuvers after just 100 days together.


gettyimages.co.uk

The Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors sees a persistent need for more housing units in the Fayette County area. 

Lexington Finance Commissioner Bill O’Mara told members of the council’s budget committee last week home foreclosures have been declining.


visitlex.com

Agriculture in Fayette County accounts for $2.3 billion in annual economic activity. 

That’s according to a report given Tuesday to Lexington’s council.


Governor Bevin Addresses Investment Summit

Jun 20, 2017
selectusa.gov

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin believes workforce development, apprenticeship programs, and dual-credit initiatives are keys to attracting new business to states. 

The governor appeared on a panel Monday as part of the Select USA Investment Summit in Washington. 


An economic development agency targeted for elimination by President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday nearly $16 million in funding to help diversify economies in hard-hit coal communities in seven Appalachian states.

The funding is earmarked for 18 projects in Alabama, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia, and will create or retain more than 1,700 jobs, the Appalachian Regional Commission said in a news release.

The money announced by the ARC comes from a job organization comprising the commission, the U.S. Commerce and Labor departments, and other federal agencies, and is "a blueprint for new jobs, fresh opportunities, and a robust economic future for Appalachia," ARC federal co-chair Earl Gohl said in the release.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has appointed an advisory group to study policies that will help foster children, the disabled and others get a job. 

After being name-checked in two of President Donald Trump’s recent speeches, a new coal mine opened in Pennsylvania last week.

“Next week we’re opening a big coal mine,” Trump told supporters in Cincinnati. “You know about that. One in Pennsylvania. It’s actually a new mine. That hadn’t happen in a long time, folks. But we’re putting the people and we’re putting the miners back to work.”

Ford Increasing Summer Production At Louisville Plant

Jun 7, 2017

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. will operate its Kentucky SUV plant for an extra week this summer to meet demand for the Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC.

Ford’s North American plants normally have a two-week shutdown in July, but the Louisville Assembly Plant will take only one week. It will build more than 8,500 vehicles during that extra week.

U.S. sales of the Escape were up 3 percent through May, while MKC sales were up 10 percent. Overall industry sales are down 2 percent, according to Autodata Corp.

Kentucky Secretary Of State Traveling To Taiwan

Jun 5, 2017

Kentucky's secretary of state is traveling to Asia for an international trade mission.

Many companies in Kentucky say the jobs are out there, but the workers are not. 

The state Society for Human Resource Management released a survey this week of 1,084 companies.

Eighty-four percent of the companies surveyed said they’re having trouble filling jobs.  The survey found the biggest shortages are in healthcare, engineering, and skilled trades.  Most of the businesses are expecting growth in the next few years, increasing the need for qualified employees. 

Secretary Hal Heiner in the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet says a high school diploma is no longer enough.

"Many of the experts are predicting that in about eight years, 2025, 80 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require a credential or some education past high school," Heiner told WKU Public Radio.

Governor Matt Bevin says Kentucky has surpassed its record for business investments in less than half a year. The Republican governor said on Friday that business investments in the state already top $5.8 billion.

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