Kentucky Employment Statistics

  • 122,163 employers
  • 1,885,146 employees
  • $890 average weekly wage
  • The average weekly wage is 19.2% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 8.2% below the national average

Types of Employers (Private Sector vs Government Agency)

As an employer in Kentucky, you are most likely to be running a private company rather than a government agency. 95.3% of employers run private companies in the state, 1.8% less than the national average of 97.0. The remaining 4.7% of employers are government agencies: 1.0% work in a federal agency, 2.1% work for the state and 1.6% work for local government. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employers by type.
84.5% of employees work for a private company. This is 0.7% below the national average of 85.2%. Local government agencies employ 9.2% of the workers in the state, state government agencies employ 4.4% of the workers and the federal government employs 1.9%. The percentage of employees working for a government agency (15.5%) is 0.7% higher than the national average. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employees by type of employer.
The average weekly wage in Kentucky is $890 per week, which is 19.2% greater than the national average of $1,101 per week. Kentucky workers that are employed by private businesses earn $888 per week, 19.3% lower than the national average for private company employees. Employees of federal government agencies in Kentucky earn $1,306 per week, a premium of 47.1% compared to what employees of private companies earn. The chart below illustrates the average weekly by type of employer.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Healthcare with 13.9% of the businesses in the state. Retail trade (12.8%) and Professional services (10.6%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Businesses
Sector# Businesses% of Bus.
Healthcare16,98713.9%
Retail trade15,61612.8%
Professional services12,96510.6%
Other services10,6928.8%
Construction9,4507.7%
Wholesale trade8,6167.1%
Accommodation and food services8,5577.0%
Finance and insurance6,7975.6%
Waste services6,7895.6%
Manufacturing4,4403.6%
Real estate and rental4,2233.5%
Transport and warehousing3,5032.9%
Information1,7801.5%
Arts and entertainment1,5111.2%
Educational services1,1370.9%
Agriculture and forestry1,0960.9%
Company management7550.6%
Unclassified7100.6%
Mining and oil extraction4580.4%
Utilities2920.2%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 13.3% of the employees in the state. Healthcare (13.2%) and Retail trade (11.3%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Employees
Sector# Employees% of Emp'
Manufacturing251,62613.3%
Healthcare248,30213.2%
Retail trade213,80311.3%
Accommodation and food services174,7929.3%
Waste services120,8506.4%
Transport and warehousing104,3705.5%
Construction77,9694.1%
Professional services76,1824.0%
Wholesale trade74,9274.0%
Finance and insurance73,2653.9%
Other services46,4632.5%
Arts and entertainment23,1711.2%
Information21,9801.2%
Company management20,3811.1%
Real estate and rental19,6271.0%
Educational services19,1801.0%
Mining and oil extraction10,0360.5%
Agriculture and forestry8,5300.5%
Utilities6,7740.4%
Unclassified5700.0%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $1,973per week compared with the state average of $888. Utilities ($1,700) and Finance and insurance ($1,437) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Wages by Sector
SectorWkly Wagevs St Avg.
Company management$1,973222.2%
Utilities$1,700191.4%
Finance and insurance$1,437161.8%
Mining and oil extraction$1,372154.5%
Wholesale trade$1,249140.7%
Professional services$1,239139.5%
Manufacturing$1,139128.3%
Unclassified$1,090122.7%
Information$1,051118.4%
Transport and warehousing$1,037116.8%
Construction$1,037116.8%
Healthcare$946106.5%
Real estate and rental$80190.2%
Agriculture and forestry$73983.2%
Educational services$67576.0%
Other services$64672.7%
Waste services$62069.8%
Retail trade$53560.2%
Arts and entertainment$43949.4%
Accommodation and food services$32836.9%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Kentucky. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 5.7% of the businesses in the state (with 6,990 employing 149,055 workers). Services for the elderly and disabled (5.2%) and Private households (3.4%) round out the top 3 industries. The Top 10 Industries in the state are:
Industry# BusinessesEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places6,99021.3
Services for the elderly and disabled6,3562.3
Private households4,1231.2
Computer systems design and related services3,1424.6
Offices of physicians2,87213.0
Offices of lawyers2,1524.7
Wholesale trade agents and brokers2,0412.1
Gasoline stations with convenience stores2,0237.4
Insurance agencies and brokerages1,9844.9
Management consulting services1,9065.7


Employees by Industry

The industry with the greatest number of employees in the state is Restaurants and other eating places with 7.9% of the businesses in the state. The industry employs 149,055 in 6,990 businesses, there are 21.3 employees on average in each of these businesses. General medical and surgical hospitals (3.7%) and Temporary help services (2.6%) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Industries by # of Employees
Industry# EmpEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places149,05521.3
General medical and surgical hospitals70,582534.7
Temporary help services49,09138.4
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters39,42133.5
Offices of physicians37,42813.0
Supermarkets and other grocery stores30,19440.3
Couriers and express delivery services29,989124.4
General warehousing and storage28,993112.4
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing27,72876.0
Commercial banking22,20013.7


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Commodity contracts dealing, paying $3,721 compared with the state average of $888. Investment banking and securities dealing ($3,054) and Portfolio management ($2,499) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Wages by Industry
IndustryWkly Wage% of Avg
Commodity contracts dealing$3,721419.0
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,054343.9
Portfolio management$2,499281.4
Monetary authorities - central bank$2,452276.1
Securities brokerage$2,325261.8
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,200247.7
Pipeline transportation of natural gas$2,165243.8
Transport. goods merchant wholesalers$2,159243.1
Agents and managers for public figures$2,076233.8
Photographic equip. merchant wholesalers$2,046230.4


Company Size

Kentucky Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Kentucky by far. 60.4% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 112,192 small businesses in the state represent 95.4% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.6%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) The pie chart below illustrates the ratio of business sizes.

Kentucky Employees by Business Size

The largest companies in the state represent 138.1% of all employees, which is 0.3% lower than the national average of 138.4%. Smallest companies also employ a lower percentage of the states workforce than the largest companies. The solopreneur (those that employ fewer than 5) companies employ 84.3% of all workers, which is 7.2% lower than the national average of 91.5%. All small companies, those employing fewer than 50 people, represent 574.1% of the labor force in the state, 24.1% more than the national average of 550.0%.

Kentucky Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

Kentucky workers in every size business are paid less than the national average. The smallest companies in Kentucky (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 8.3% less than the national average ($900 per week as compared to the national average of $975 per week). The largest companies in Kentucky (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 45.8% workers below the national average ($1,291 per week as compared to the national average of $1,882 per week).



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.