Business and the Economy

10:31am

Thu May 24, 2012
Business and the Economy

Unemployment Rate Falls in 110 Counties

FRANKFORT — Unemployment rates fell in 110 Kentucky counties between April 2011 and April 2012, while nine county rates increased and one stayed the same, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training. Woodford County recorded the lowest jobless rate at 5.1 percent. It was followed by Shelby County, 5.8 percent; Fayette and Oldham counties, 5.9 percent each; Hancock County, 6 percent; Union County, 6.2 percent; Daviess and Ohio counties, 6.3 percent each; and Anderson, Calloway, Spencer and Webster counties, 6.5 percent each, according to a press release from the state.

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4:17pm

Sun May 20, 2012
Business and the Economy

Blue Grass Airport Sustains Success

A Delta jet took off from Blue Grass Airport in 2010. Most commercial jets flying into Lexington are 50-seaters, but Delta and other carriers have some planes coming in with 117 to 150 seats.
Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader

Most of the commercial flights leaving Lexington's Blue Grass Airport are full these days, which makes airport officials happy. Still, those officials are keeping a watchful eye on airline industry trends, particularly airline mergers and bankruptcies, in an effort to keep passenger counts and numbers of flights, destinations and available seats from sliding.

3:59pm

Sun May 20, 2012
Business and the Economy

Toyota Continues to Bounce Back

For Toyota, it is time to put the last four years in the rearview mirror. That has been the automaker’s message for the past few weeks with a string of announcements worldwide that make it clear Toyota is putting the pedal to the metal in plant expansions, new and redesigned products with an eye on the future.

9:07am

Fri May 18, 2012
Business and the Economy

Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.3%

Kentucky's unemployment rate continued its descent in April, dropping to 8.3 percent from 8.6 percent in March. It marked the lowest unemployment rate since November 2008. While it's improving, the state's unemployment rate continued to lag the national rate, which fell to 8.1 percent in April from 8.2 percent in March, according to data provided by the state Office of Employment and Training. During the month, the state's civilian labor force decreased slightly.

4:37pm

Wed May 16, 2012
Business and the Economy

Time Warner Cable Restructures Insight jobs

Time Warner Cable has told former Insight sales employees in Lexington that it will restructure the team and will require employees to reapply for jobs in the revamped structure. The employees affected sell cable advertisements locally, and Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Mary Jo Green said the decision affects upwards of 50 employees, primarily in Kentucky, including more than a dozen in Lexington.

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4:34pm

Wed May 16, 2012
Business and the Economy

Lexington Trader Joe's Opens June 29

Exterior of Trader Joe’s under construction on Nicholasville Rd. in Lexington, Ky., on May 16, 2012. Trader Joe’s has announced it will open its Lexington store on June 29.
Pable Alcala Lexington Herald Leader

In a long-awaited announcement, gourmet grocery Trader Joe's said Wednesday it will open its first Lexington store at 8 a.m. June 29. Construction is nearly complete on the grocery at 2326 Nicholasville Road, the former site of Joe's Crab Shack. The 12,000-square-foot grocery will have a separate wine shop of about 3,000 square feet. This will be Trader Joe's second Kentucky store. The first one opened in October at 4600 Shelbyville Road in Louisville.

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6:15am

Mon May 14, 2012
Business and the Economy

Kentucky Congressmen on Economic Recovery

President Obama is chiding Congress for not acting on his slimmed down plan to spur economic growth.  Election year politicking is expected to derail this latest effort to get the economy moving in states like Kentucky.  The president laid out a “to do” list for Congress. He once again asked lawmakers to help lower interest rates on mortgages for millions of homeowners. Kentucky Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul, aren’t buying it.

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1:15pm

Thu May 10, 2012
Business and the Economy

Airline Merger Could Hurt Blue Grass Airport

The head of Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport is predicting that US Airways will eventually acquire the struggling American Airlines, and he’s not looking forward to that merger. American Airlines filed for bankruptcy in November. Eric Frankl, executive director at Blue Grass Airport, says a deal between American and US Airways may have a negative impact on central Kentucky travelers.

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11:45am

Wed May 9, 2012
Business and the Economy

A Thousand Amazon Jobs Expected in Winchester

A well known on-line retailer is expanding its central Kentucky operations by hiring more than eleven hundred people.  Clark County will feel the most direct impact.   Amazon-dot-com will open a 70 thousand square foot customer service center in Winchester.   The 20 million dollar investment is expected to create over 500 full time jobs and another 600 seasonal positions.  Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner says his town is ideally located and offers a seasoned workforce.

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2:22pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Business and the Economy

Online Wagers Boost Earnings for Churchill Downs

Officials with Churchill Downs Incorporated say increased Internet wagering has boosted first quarter earnings. CDI gained $1.3 million in the first three months of this year. CDI officials say because of the lack of live racing days it’s common to see losses in first quarter earnings, but CDI’s Chief Financial Officer Bill Mudd said there has been a 5 percent increase in wagering nationwide and CDI has always been ahead of the game.

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1:15pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Business and the Economy

Toyota Expansion to Create 86 Jobs

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, center, is flanked by Steve St. Angelo, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, at left, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky President.
Jerry Boggs/Georgetown News-Graphic

State and company officials gathered at the Toyota visitors center Tuesday to announce the latest expansion of the auto maker's flagship manufacturing plant. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was on hand to announce Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky will expand its operation to produce more 4-cyclinder motors in the Georgetown plant. The company is spending approximately $30 million to update a currently unused assembly line to produce more than 100,000 engines each year.

1:10pm

Tue May 8, 2012
Business and the Economy

State's Tourism Dollars Increased in 2011

The economic impact of tourism in Kentucky amounted to nearly $11.7 billion in 2011, Gov. Steve Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow announced Monday in a state press release. The economic impact figure is a 3 percent increase from 2010. “Despite a tough economy, the Kentucky tourism industry continues to shine,” Beshear said. “These figures underscore the importance of tourism in Kentucky as well as in every community across the Commonwealth.”

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1:04pm

Fri May 4, 2012
Business and the Economy

Tax Consultants Plan to Provide Options

A group of three economists hopes to provide key input to Kentucky’s tax commission this summer. The Blue Ribbon Tax Commission picked three professors to act as consultants as the group considers changes to the state’s tax code. Two are from the University of Kentucky and one is from the University of Tennessee. UK professor William Hoyt will serve as the principal investigator. He says the selection was an honor, and his goal for the group is to produce a slew of options to the commission.

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1:56pm

Thu May 3, 2012
Business and the Economy

Xerox to Hire 300 in Lexington

Xerox, already one of Lexington's largest employers, plans to hire more than 300 people in several job categories over the next few months at its call center in Lexington. Past hiring at the Lexington Xerox call center, formerly known as ACS before that company was acquired by Xerox in 2010, has paid customer service representatives a starting wage of about $10 an hour.

2:14pm

Thu April 26, 2012
Business and the Economy

UK Athletics, Toyota Among Donors for Rupp

The University of Kentucky Athletics Department and Toyota were the two largest donors to a task force that recently developed a plan to revitalize Rupp Arena and the surrounding portion of downtown. UK Athletics gave $50,000 and Toyota gave $35,000 to the group, which raised $380,950, according to a list obtained by the Herald-Leader under the Open Records Act. Many of the other donors included members of the task force, including Greg Goodman, whose Mount Brilliant Family Foundation gave $10,000. W.T. Young LLC gave $20,000. Young's son Chris served on the task force.

10:10am

Thu April 26, 2012
Business and the Economy

100 Years of Forestry in Kentucky

This year’s ‘Earth Week in Kentucky’ celebration focuses on the state Division of Forestry’s 100th anniversary.  Much of the division’s work centers on Kentucky’s four to five billion dollar wood products industry business.  State Forester Leah MacSwords says the timber harvested here is used in numerous products.  “All kinds of forest products are made from Kentucky’s wood…everything from cabinets and flooring.. to mill work to pallets…so we have a very robust forestry industry in the state of Kentucky,” said MacSwords.

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2:31pm

Wed April 25, 2012
Business and the Economy

Scrap Yards Propose Alternative Crackdown on Metal Theft

The scrap metal industry in Lexington is asking the Urban County Council to scrap its plan to license the sellers of copper or other metals.  The new regulations are suggested as a way to cut down on copper and other metal thefts.  Ken Cowen’s Ohio firm owns Lexington’s Baker Iron and metal.   To combat theft, Cowen says scrap metal firms are willing to employ off duty police officers.  Then, Cowen says, they could check the seller’s I-D.

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1:33pm

Fri April 20, 2012
Business and the Economy

Pike Magistrate Suggests Pay Cut for Officials

As Pike County officials continue to discuss the county’s “dire” financial situation, a bold suggestion from a Pike magistrate to help alleviate some of the strain seems to have fallen on deaf ears. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, District 5 Magistrate Hilman Dotson, while arguing that the county’s currently idled swimming pools should be reopened, suggested that he and other county officials take a pay cut to help ease some of the financial burden the county is facing ahead of a projected multi-million-dollar budget shortfall in the coming year. Dotson’s suggested 10 percent pay reduction for county officials found little support among other court officials.

1:06pm

Fri April 20, 2012
Business and the Economy

Annual Jobless Rates Down in 105 Counties

Annual unemployment rates were lower in 105 Kentucky counties in 2011 than in 2010, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training in the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. In addition, 14 Kentucky counties had a higher annual unemployment in 2011 than in 2010 while the unemployment rate in Laurel County remained the same for both years, according to a press release issued by the state.

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7:51am

Fri April 20, 2012
Business and the Economy

Record Day Celebration in Lexington

In the year 2012, the ‘download’ remains the predominant format in music sales.  However, the owner of a Lexington independent music business says vinyl continues to make a move on compact discs.  The fifth annual Record Store Day celebration will be held tomorrow.  Pops Resale owner, Daniel Shorr says record sales are going well.  “To show the fact that records not only aren’t dead..they’re really quite alive and vibrant..they’re on track hopefully this year to surpass c-d sales,” said Shorr.

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8:44pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Business and the Economy

Eight Construction Managers to Bid on Centre Point

Eight construction firms are about to bid for the job of building the Centre Pointe project in downtown Lexington.  It might be considered an indication the revitalization effort is building momentum.  Last week, plans were unveiled that convert the old Fayette National Bank Building into a 21-C Museum Hotel.  Just a block away sits the proposed site of the high-rise Centre Pointe project.  Developer Dudley Webb expects eight construction managers to submit bids for the work within the next three weeks.

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4:35pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Business and the Economy

Kentucky’s Jobless Rate Drops to 8.6 Percent

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in March 2012 from a revised 8.7 percent in February 2012, making this the third consecutive month with an unemployment rate below 9 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

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9:36am

Wed April 18, 2012
Business

Study Ranks Lexington High for Online Fraud

A study by a company that helps secure data on Web sites suggests Lexington sees more fraudulent online transactions than other cities its size. The study by ThreatMetrix, which used data from the 5,000 Web sites that use its software, found Lexington had the 10th highest percentage of originating online fraud among 150 major cities. Lexington ranked behind New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Omaha, Dallas, San Francisco, Houston and Washington D.C.

2:59pm

Fri April 13, 2012
Business and the Economy

Business Recruitment Improving in Lexington

A Lexington organization that tracks the community’s economic pulse is expressing optimism about 2012.  Commerce Lexington’s Jenna Greathouse says they’re working with 39 businesses interested in central Kentucky.  Greathouse says that compares with 27 firms at the same point last year.   “So when we’re seeing more people coming and looking at Lexington..coming from other cities and states to see what we have to offer…for an expansion of a new business..a relocation of a company..that kind of thing, …yeah I think it’s a good indicator,” said Greathouse.

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1:09pm

Fri April 13, 2012
Business and the Economy

Postal Workers Push for Help from Congress

With a May 15 deadline looming, the American Postal Workers Union is pressuring Congress to pass legislation that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to fix some of its problems. Full-page newspaper advertisements urge residents to tell U.S. senators and representatives “to fix the USPS without destroying service or eliminating 100,000 jobs.” The Postal Service plans to close thousands of post offices, including many in Kentucky, and hundreds of processing centers, including the one in Bowling Green. Its plans require a $22.5 billion reduction in annual costs by 2016.

2:30pm

Tue April 10, 2012
Business and the Economy

Solar Panel Company to Open Location in Kentucky

A solar panel company has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in south-central Kentucky. Alabama-based Taggart Solar’s plant in Edmonson County is expected to create about 30 jobs. The company plans to invest $440,000 into an industrial park in Park City and hire at least 30 workers to assemble components into photovoltaic solar panels.

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2:18pm

Tue April 10, 2012
Business and the Economy

Carroll County Plant to Add Jobs

Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday announced DRC Industries, a packaging materials supplier, plans to acquire an additional 126,000-square-foot facility and add 25 jobs in Carroll County. The project entails a $2 million investment by the company. “The growth we’re seeing at DRC Industries is exciting and highlights the successful efforts of a dedicated workforce here in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said in a press release from his office. “Not only does this mean DRC Industries will spend millions of dollars here in Kentucky, but it also adds up to 25 new jobs for Kentucky citizens, and that is great news.”

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2:10pm

Tue April 10, 2012
Business and the Economy

State Announces Funding for Small Airports

Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday announced an initiative to help Kentucky’s small airports by increasing the state’s contribution toward a required local match on federal grant funds. Approximately $425,000 in additional funds from the state will be used to offset an increased cost-sharing requirement for Federal Aviation Administration entitlement grant funding at Kentucky’s 46 general aviation airports, according to a press release from Beshear's office.

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5:21am

Mon April 9, 2012
Business and the Economy

Toyota Cheers New Auto Incentives Law

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has signed a bill into law that gives tax incentives to automakers in Kentucky. The new law allows manufacturers and suppliers to tap the incentives if they have 1,000 employees, have been in business in Kentucky for at least five years and are willing to invest $100 million in the state. The law is an extension of a 2007 program that allowed Ford to invest more than one billion dollars into its two Louisville plants to expand the workforce and re-tool assembly lines.

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5:16am

Mon April 9, 2012
Business and the Economy

Alcohol Debate for Berea College

Some Berea residents recently voted to allow the dining room at Boone Tavern to sell alcohol by the drink, but the hotel and restaurant are owned by Berea College.
Lexington Herald-Leader file photo

Boone Tavern has long been known as a place for iconic Southern fare such as spoonbread or "chicken flakes in a bird's nest," a dish of creamed chicken served over a crispy shell of shredded potatoes. Although "tavern" is part of its name, the 103-year-old hotel and restaurant has never sold alcohol. Nevertheless, out-of-town diners often ask for drinks with their meals. That could change in the wake of last week's East Berea Precinct vote of 146 to 57 favoring the limited sale of alcohol by the drink at Boone Tavern. Whether that actually happens is up to the 30-member board of trustees of Berea College, which owns Boone Tavern.

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