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Study: Lexington ranks top-15 among cities whose unemployment rates bouncing back post-pandemic

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 9:26 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Closed doors on businesses and long lines waiting for unemployment help have been common sights across Kentucky for the last year, but a new study shows Lexington is on the rebound.

“It is awesome news for us,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Of 180 cities WalletHub surveyed, Lexington ranks 15th in the nation when factoring in the current unemployment rate, and rates from January and March 2020, and March 2019.

“We went all the way from 3.1% up to 14.2% and way back down. So all of our numbers are confirming this trend. We just didn’t know how good we were compared with other cities,” Mayor Gorton said.

Mayor Gorton says the city isn’t surprised by just how well they’re bouncing back. She says revenue numbers from businesses are strong, and credits a diverse economy for helping the city rebuild.

“We are a university city, we are an agricultural city, we are a business city, healthcare. You can just name off all those sectors that are different from each other and every city doesn’t necessarily have that,” Mayor Gorton said.

Officials with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce say Kentucky is about two-thirds of the way back to pre-pandemic unemployment rates. They say that number will get even better once the job search requirement for unemployment benefits is implemented again.

Thousands of openings are available statewide through Kentucky Commerce’s “Who’s hiring” website. It’s a tool to help all of Kentucky’s communities rebound from a post-pandemic world.

“Our economic development efforts haven’t stopped because of the pandemic. We keep pushing. We keep talking to our businesses, we keep attracting businesses here. I think that laser focus on the economy has really helped us,” Mayor Gorton said.

Mayor Gorton says two examples of growth during the pandemic include the new Baptist Health campus in Hamburg, and a different kind of Amazon facility that will open on the north side of town. Both would offer 500-600 new jobs each.

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