BRADENTON, Fla. — The Louisville metropolitan region is well on track toward reaching post-recession highs in employment and job growth as a result of a number of investments, including the Ohio River Bridges Project, according to the Louisville, Ky., office of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.
The bank found that the Louisville-Jefferson County, metropolitan statistical area outpaced population growth in both Kentucky and the nation between 2002 and 2012.
In the year prior to March 2013, the MSA added 19,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls, and saw the unemployment rate drop from to 7.8% from 8.5%. The region also expanded education and health-services payroll employment and saw 9% growth in manufacturing over the past year.
"Additionally, both the Kentucky and Indiana sides of the Louisville MSA have invested heavily in bridge and infrastructure projects, which will lead to more jobs in construction and other skilled areas, as well as improved transportation," the bank said in an Aug. 12 release.
"Assuming no major shifts, Louisville can expect its stable-growth sectors of health care and logistics to provide consistency in employment trends moving forward," said the bank. "Coupled with recent vigor in heavy manufacturing, such as in autos, and the large undertaking of the Ohio River Bridges Project, area employment conditions should continue to improve to post recession bests."
In the $2.6 billion project, Kentucky is building a new bridge adjacent to the existing Kennedy/Interstate 65 bridge through downtown Louisville, renovating the existing I-65 bridge, and reconfiguring the area's road system. Indiana is building a new bridge called the East End Crossing between Prospect, Ky., and Utica, Ind.
The MSA has a population of 1.25 million residents, a labor force of 643,271, and average per capita income of $39,037.