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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Credit 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.
Serco, a travel and hospitality company, is expanding its reach in the industry by creating 125 jobs at its Campbellsville center. The international service company acquired Intelenet Global Services last year in order to partner global travel with hospitality services for worldwide clientele. “Kentucky welcomes Serco’s growth and success in Campbellsville,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement.
Employee Nic Johnson carried an armload of championship shirts at Fan Outfitters in the Tates Creek Centre on Tates Creek Rd. at Man O War Blvd. in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, April 04, 2012.
Credit Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader
If there's one universal truth, surely it's that dogs can't be cats. Right? Wrong. It turns out that in the wake of the University of Kentucky's eighth men's basketball championship, even dogs can dress as the Cats, courtesy of Fan Outfitters and its line of UK T-shirts for dogs. The canine clothing is one of numerous ways a variety of Lexington businesses, including restaurants, banks, local media and the post office, are cashing in on the Cats' victory. "I've never seen anything like it," said Joe Kawaja, president of Lexington-based collegiate retailer Fan Outfitters. "Fourteen years of pent-up demand is a great thing."
Friday marks the beginning of the 75th spring meet at Keeneland. While history is a big part of racing at the Lexington track, officials there are working to incorporate new programs. Keeneland’s Julie Balog says, over the next three weeks, fractional wagering will be available. Balog says this approach allows bettors to put more horses in a wager but bet in smaller increments. Overall, she says, betting figures are starting to rebound.
National grain specialists are predicting a record amount of corn crops could go in the ground this spring. A rise in corn yields has been a trend in the commonwealth. University of Kentucky Extension Professor of Grain Crops, Chad Lee says Kentucky’s corn acreage could go up about ten percent this year. Lee says the profit potential is partly the result of warmer than usual weather. He says, in the bluegrass, corn has gone from being the number three crop to number one in the last few years.
Five companies are vying to build the downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. Kentucky is in charge of appointing a firm to build a new bridge between downtown Louisville and southern Indiana. The company will also rework Spaghetti Junction. The deadline for applications was this week, and transportation cabinet officials will spend the next few weeks reviewing the submissions.
Twenty-six Courier-Journal employees will take buyouts from the paper’s parent company Gannett. Gannett offered the buyouts earlier this year to employees over 56-years-old and with at least 20 years of service to the company. Eighteen of the employees who accepted the buyouts came from the Courier’s news department. The buyouts reduce the paper’s editorial page staff to one: Pam Platt will remain. Only one news employee will be replaced, marking another reduction in the paper’s reporting staff.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved a proposal Thursday that would give $10.25 million in Kentucky business incentives to a subsidiary of Amazon.com, should it choose to open a $20-million customer support center in Winchester. To receive the full tax credit from the state, the company, AMZN.wacs Inc, would have to create 550 full-time jobs and 600 part-time and seasonal jobs, said Todd Denham, executive director of the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Authority. The jobs would have an average hourly pay of $20.33 with benefits. The 70,000-square-foot center, Denham said, would be built on a seven-acre site to be determined.
Kentucky tourism hopes to cash-in on the Final Four matchup between the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. State officials hope it attracts more visitors to the Bluegrass State. Tourism officials hope Kentucky’s prominent place in college basketball’s Final Four will attract more out-of-state visitors. Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism Deputy Commissioner, Hank Phillips sees Saturday’s contest between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville as a marketing opportunity
Floods in 20-11 and this year’s tornadoes could complicate the tax returns filed by Kentucky farmers. For example, when farmers receive an insurance check for damaged crops, I-R-S spokesman Luis Garcia says they must claim that money as income. And, if bad weather forces the early sale of livestock, Garcia says that income can sometimes be claimed on next year’s tax return.
Kentucky's unemployment rate remained below 9 percent in February, dropping to 8.7 percent. That's down a tad from 8.8 percent in January, which marked the first time in three years that the jobless rate had been below 9 percent. February was the eighth consecutive month that the rate has declined, according to the state Office of Employment and Training. However, the state's measure continued to lag the national rate, which remained at 8.3 percent.
In Kentucky alone, the number of registered farmers markets grew from 96 in 2004 to about 150 last year. That doesn't count roadside stands or local produce sold in supermarkets. Other farmers sell a portion of their crop to local consumers even before a seed is planted. Such business models represent a big shift away from the mass production emphasized on most American farms since World War Two.
TMMK President Will James makes a presentation during Toyota's celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Georgetown plant.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. President Will James has been named to Savoy Magazine’s 2012 Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America. The Savoy Top 100 can be found in its 11th Anniversary Spring issue and is considered the definitive listing of African-American influencers and achievers impacting corporate America.
Gov. Steve Beshear Monday announced 17 high-tech Kentucky companies will share $6.2 million in state funds as part of a program to support and attract technology-based small businesses. Through the state’s competitive Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Matching Funds program, Kentucky matches all or part of federal awards received by Kentucky-based companies or those willing to relocate operations to Kentucky, according to a press release from the governor's office.
Unemployment rates fell in 114 of Kentucky's 120 counties in January compared with January 2011, according to data released Thursday by the state's Office of Employment and Training. Woodford County had the lowest unemployment rate at 6.9 percent. It was followed by Webster, 7.2 percent; Fayette, 7.3 percent; Oldham, 7.5 percent; Boone, 7.7 percent; Union, 7.8 percent; Henderson, 7.9 percent; Madison and Shelby, 8 percent each; and Hopkins, 8.1 percent.
The executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park is anticipating one of the “best years ever” for the sprawling tourist attraction, despite significant financial hurdles. This week the park returned to its regular operating hours for the spring and summer. Ryan Yates and his family were visiting Friday from Collierville, Tennessee. “It’s neat to see the different breeds that we don’t typically see in our part of the country.”
Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson Wednesday joined community leaders and officials from DHL Express to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new 193,000-square-foot sorting facility in Erlanger. The expansion brings 120 full-time jobs and an investment of $47 million. DHL officials anticipate the new facility will be operational by November. Upgrades are also planned for an existing 520,000-square-foot facility.
The Sweet Sixteen tournament comes to Rupp Arena today – bringing with it scores of high school basketball players, boosters, and a sizable economic impact for Lexington. City officials are eager to keep it that way.
This week, lawmakers should begin considering legislation from each other’s chambers. State Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, hopes that includes a series of business-friendly laws he has proposed. One of those is House Bill 277, which would standardize, as much as possible, tax reporting forms used by taxing jurisdictions and offer the forms through the Secretary of State’s One Stop Shop for Business.
Dennis Walter, who owns StoneBrook Winery, Camp Springs, uses a pneumatic corking machine to set corks in bottles of pear wine. A bill filed by Rep. Dennis Keene would provide for separate liquor licenses.
Credit Patrick Reddy/The Kentucky Enquirer
Dan Bryan wanted to open a wine bar but the cost shocked him. Just to get a liquor license could cost more than $25,000. That’s why Bryan and local leaders support a bill introduced by State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, that would create a separate liquor license to sell wine by the drink and by the package in wine bars. Winemakers hope this will lead to more bars devoted to wine, particularly Kentucky wine. The state’s wine industry has grown in the past 15 years from four wineries to 65 across the state.
Kentuckians are just beginning the gauge the economic cost of the weekend’s disaster. A more complete picture will become apparent once damage assessments are complete. However, there are economic trends that follow a tornado. For example, economist Kevin Simmons says full recovery is likely…in fact, Simmons says some communities re-invent themselves after devastating weather. The Austin College professor says disaster relief, from both government and private sources, can temporarily improve a local economy.