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Lexington’s unemployment rate falls to lowest level in a decade, punctuating post-recession recovery

The unemployment rate in the Lexington area fell to its lowest rate in the last decade in January giving it the second lowest rate in Kentucky. The sharp decline from 4.2 percent in August 2017 to 3 percent in January 2018 was the fastest such decline since 2014 and places Lexington behind only the Evansville, IN-KY metro area in terms of the rate of unemployment.

“In general, the metro area has been able to recover from the recession at a faster rate than both the state and the nation,” said the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Gary Wagner and Mary DeStefano. By September 2017, employment levels in Lexington were 9.4 percent higher than before the Great Recession, compared to just 3.9 percent higher in Kentucky and 6 percent higher in the US.

The Lexington area’s financial activities sector experienced the fastest employment growth rate, increasing 1.6 percent from September 2016 to September 2017. “Although the financial activities sector constitutes only 3.5 percent of employment in the metro area, its growth is welcome because its average annual private salary is about 57 percent higher than the average private salary for the metro area,” said Wagner.

As overall employment increased by 0.8 percent in the same period, all but one of Lexington’s major business sectors, professional and business services, saw growth. Government added the largest number of jobs at nearly 1,000, while the area’s largest business sector, trade, transportation, and utilities, added more than 500.

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For more insights on economic conditions in the Lexington area, see our latest Lexington Metro Mix.

And browse through our Region, for data, maps, research, and other information related to the diverse economies and communities in the region served by the Cleveland Fed: Ohio, eastern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

From Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

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