Kentucky Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 122,812 employers, down 0.7% from 123,621
  • 1,874,461 employees, up 0.7% from 1,860,918
  • $920 average weekly wage, up 2.2% from $900
  • The average weekly wage is 22.3% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 8.2% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state declined by 809, which is a decrease of 0.7%. The number of employees in Kentucky increased by 13,543, an increase of 0.7%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $20, an increase of 2.2%.

The number of private employers decreased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses declined by 778 or 0.7%. Growth in private businesses in Kentucky grew slower than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 15,217 or 1.0%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Kentucky was slower than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $23 or 2.5%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Kentucky grew slower than the national average of 3.0%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Healthcare with 14.0% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector declined by 0.5%. Retail trade (12.7%), which decreased by 1.5% and Professional services (10.8%), which increased by 0.7%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Information1257.0%
Educational services332.9%
Real estate and rental491.2%
Finance and insurance540.8%
Professional services870.7%
Manufacturing260.6%
Transport and warehousing120.3%
Utilities00.0%
Agriculture and forestry-3-0.3%
Healthcare-81-0.5%
Arts and entertainment-10-0.7%
Construction-104-1.1%
Waste services-79-1.1%
Wholesale trade-111-1.3%
Accommodation and food services-116-1.3%
Retail trade-232-1.5%
Company management-16-2.1%
Other services-401-3.7%
Mining and oil extraction-28-5.8%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 13.5% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 0.5% in the last year. Healthcare (13.2%), increased by 1.3% and Retail trade (11.2%), decreased by 1.0%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Mining and oil extraction6076.2%
Transport and warehousing5,3855.3%
Arts and entertainment1,0015.3%
Agriculture and forestry3524.3%
Real estate and rental7243.8%
Educational services6803.6%
Construction2,6253.6%
Accommodation and food services2,4561.4%
Healthcare3,1081.3%
Wholesale trade9871.3%
Other services3820.8%
Manufacturing1,3360.5%
Professional services3590.5%
Finance and insurance-162-0.2%
Utilities-43-0.7%
Information-183-0.9%
Retail trade-2,200-1.0%
Waste services-1,896-1.6%
Company management-436-2.1%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,513per week compared with the state average of $930. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $230 or 10.1%. Utilities ($1,972), rose by $57 or 3.0% and Finance and insurance ($1,670) declined by $22 or 1.3% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Company management$23010.1%
Real estate and rental$526.5%
Information$686.3%
Arts and entertainment$285.3%
Professional services$625.1%
Agriculture and forestry$344.9%
Waste services$264.3%
Other services$264.1%
Construction$313.2%
Mining and oil extraction$433.2%
Utilities$573.0%
Wholesale trade$383.0%
Retail trade$152.8%
Accommodation and food services$92.8%
Manufacturing$211.8%
Educational services$121.8%
Healthcare$151.6%
Transport and warehousing$10.1%
Finance and insurance$-22-1.3%


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 6,962 employing 147,418 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 98 fewer businesses, a decline of 1.4% in the last year. Services for the elderly and disabled (5.2% of businesses) had 161 fewer businesses, a decline of 2.5% and Private households (3.2% of businesses) had 458 fewer businesses, a decline of 10.5% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Commodity contracts dealing5250.0%
Facilities support services113154.8%
Software publishers194150.4%
Other leather product manufacturing350.0%
Scenic and sightseeing transportation land350.0%
Semiconductor and electronic component mfg.1040.0%
Advertising material distribution services433.3%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Software publishers194150.4%
Facilities support services113154.8%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers615.3%
Offices of all other health practitioners5315.1%
Residential building construction392.4%
Management consulting services371.9%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters373.2%


Employees by Industry

Services for the elderly and disabled (5.2% of employees) had 161 fewer employees, a decline of 2.5% and Private households (3.2% ofemployees) had 458 fewer employees, a decline of 10.5% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Support activities for forestry16128.8%
Software publishers505128.8%
Fish and seafood markets6100.6%
All other crop farming17896.2%
Other gambling industries20389.0%
Convention and trade show organizers22581.6%
Facilities support services1,04275.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Couriers and express delivery services2,6129.0%
Services for the elderly and disabled1,65111.9%
Restaurants and other eating places1,2190.8%
General warehousing and storage1,1794.2%
Facilities support services1,04275.5%
Commercial banking7543.4%
Food service contractors62911.8%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Services for the elderly and disabled ($5) and Private households ($3) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Services for the elderly and disabled ($5 per week) were paid $161 less per week, a decline of 2.5% and Private households ($3 per week) were paid $458 less per week, a decline of 10.5% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Fish and seafood markets$191141.5%
Carpet and rug mills$805119.1%
Plywood and engineered wood product mfg.$63389.9%
Toy and hobby goods merchant wholesalers$54768.6%
Fruit and vegetable markets$13354.5%
Other gambling industries$24552.9%
Textile and fabric finishing mills$33251.1%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Carpet and rug mills$805119.1%
Reinsurance carriers$68348.1%
Plywood and engineered wood product mfg.$63389.9%
Securities brokerage$56822.1%
Toy and hobby goods merchant wholesalers$54768.6%
Investment banking and securities dealing$52517.7%
Other publishers$49037.6%


Company Size

Kentucky Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Kentucky by far. 59.9% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 111,601 small businesses in the state represent 95.3% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.9%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) Kentucky added -778 businesses in the last year, an increase of -0.7% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses declined 842 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 0.7% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 67 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 1.3% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses declined 3 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 1.3% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Kentucky Employees by Business Size

Kentucky added 45,651 employees in the last year, an increase of 3.0% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses declined 16,105 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 16.9% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 37,771 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 6.3% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses lost 8,225 employees in the last year, which is a decrease of 3.1% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

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 8.1% less than the national average ($930 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in Kentucky (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 47.8% workers below the national average ($1,294 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $83 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.6% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $92 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 3.3% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses lost $57 of weekly wages in the last year, which is a decrease of 2.4% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



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.