Lexington—Growth Remains Solid in the Lexington Region
April 2017 | PDF
Economic conditions remain strong in the Lexington metro area. The most recent unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2001, and the region has nearly 9 percent more jobs today than it did in 2007. Income levels are growing, and consumer debt levels and credit card delinquency rates are both well below the national average. The region’s strength as an education center is also evident, as Lexington boasts a higher percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees and a lower percentage of adults without high school diplomas than the national average.
Metro Area Snapshot
||Unemployment rate||Median home values||Payroll employment||Credit card delinquency rates|
|January 2017||One-year change
|Nearby metro average||4.2||−0.1||$160,520||7.3||913||2.7||6.0||−0.4|
Lexington’s three largest sectors have experienced solid employment gains in the last 12 months.
|Sector||Employment||12-month change||Share of employment|
|Trade, transportation, and utilities||50,853||2,312||19.0|
|Professional and business services||37,582||1,048||14.0|
|Education and health services||33,008||783||12.3|
|Leisure and hospitality||31,248||112||11.6|
|Natural resources and mining||4,513||−132||1.7|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
Lexington’s three largest sectors—trade, transportation, and utilities; government; and professional and business services—all experienced solid employment gains between the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2016. Those sectors, which account for more than 51 percent of the region’s jobs, gained nearly 4,700 jobs. Manufacturing employment declined by 79 jobs during the past 12 months (−0.25 percent), while employment in natural resources and mining contracted by 132 jobs. Although natural resources and mining remains a sizable employment sector for Kentucky’s economy, the sector employs roughly 4,500 people in Lexington and accounts for only 1.7 percent of the metro area’s jobs.
||Lexington metro area||United States|
|2015||Change from 2009||2015||Change from 2009|
|Adults with less than a high school diploma (percent)||11.2||−2.2||12.9||−1.9|
|Adults with an undergraduate degree or higher (percent)||35.5||+1.0||30.6||+2.7|
|Median age (years)||36||+1.1||37.8||+1.0|
|Median household income||$54,593||+2.9%||$57,325||+0.5%|
Sources: US Census Bureau population estimates; American Community Survey.
Demographics and Education
As of 2015, the Lexington metro area has a population of more than 500,000, up 7.1 percent since 2009. During the same period, population growth in the nation increased at a rate of only 4.8 percent. The presence and strength of the education sector is also evident, as the Lexington metro area has a higher percentage of adults with bachelor’s degrees than the national average (35.5 percent compared to 30.6 percent) and a lower percentage of adults without high school diplomas (11.2 percent compared to 12.9 percent).
All monthly and quarterly figures are seasonally adjusted, and all dollar figures are in current dollars except home prices (which are left nominal). Where applicable, these adjustments are made prior to calculating percent changes or indexes. Several charts use indexed measures to facilitate comparisons across regions and have a reference line at 100. These numbers can be thought of as the percentages of pre-recession levels. If levels were growing before the recession, pre-recession indexes will be below 100; if levels were falling before the recession, pre-recession indexes will be above 100.