Economic Growth In Eastern Kentucky

By: Jeff Gould Email
By: Jeff Gould Email

A new report showing a recession is near may not ring true here at home. One local economics professor says economic growth in Eastern Kentucky is actually growing instead of being on the decline.

It's a word we've been hearing a lot lately, but are we really in a recession? Recent numbers from the Department of Labor show the number of available jobs in the U.S. is moving in the wrong direction and now President Bush is taking desperate measures to correct the problem by pumping $150 billion dollars into the economy. Despite the woes nationwide, progress seems to be moving in the opposite direction here in Eastern Kentucky.

After a rough Christmas sales period and now a significant drop in job growth, the economy is hurting.

"In January, they were expecting 80,000, they ended up with 17,000 fewer jobs so that's a net loss of jobs of 97,000 jobs," said KCTCS Economic Professor Richard Crowe.

But does it mean recession. Crowe says we can't make that judgment yet, but we're getting close.

"So this is just one nail in the coffin but if we get a few more nails like this the economy's gonna go south," Crowe said.

President Bush recently tried a quick fix, by injecting $150 billion dollars into the U.S. economy in the form of tax rebate checks. Despite the problems nationwide, here in Eastern Kentucky, economists say, we're seeing just the opposite.

"If you look around Hazard, there's probably six, seven, eight projects under construction right now and room for more so we're kind of anti-cyclical in this situation," Crowe said.

Crowe says Eastern Kentucky hasn't felt the full effects of a potential recession yet, but that could change soon.

The nationwide unemployment rate rose to five percent in December. That's the highest in two years.

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