LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – “An economy on fire.” This is how Governor Andy Beshear describes the economic state of Kentucky.
The Commonwealth is adding thousands of new jobs as the rebound continues from the lows of the pandemic.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Governor was the keynote speaker for today’s lunch at the Kentucky Association for Economic Development conference.
The conference was held at the Mariott City Center in downtown Lexington. It was not Beshear’s first time at the hotel.
He was in his second month as governor when he helped open the resort. The pandemic hit Kentucky less than two months later.
“How good it feels to be here in person,” Beshear told the crowd of hundreds.
As he approaches his third year as governor, the pandemic has dominated the attention of his administration, the economy and the news cycle.
Beshear also took a moment to highlight the human toll the virus has had on Kentuckians.
“One who has now taken almost 9,700 Kentuckians from us,” Beshear said.
Following the surge in hospitalizations from the delta variant during the latter part of the summer, Beshear says the positivity rate is on the decline again.
“It has been a test for our humanity, and for the most part I believe we have been successful. And while we still have a ways to go, things are going a lot better,” Beshear said.
He said it starts with an economy that doesn’t just reopen, but adds more industries to the state’s portfolio.
Beshear: “If someone wants to laugh at our accents, we’ll also steal their work. Says he encourages companies to make investments in the state, including recent ones from Ford and Toyota @ LEX18News
– Conroy Delouche (@ConroyDelouche) November 2, 2021
Beshear touted new businesses or business expansions in Henderson, Todd County, Hopkins County, Covington, Louisville and Bowling Green.
“Just at the end of last week, we were able to announce a new record investment of $ 10 billion here in Kentucky,” Beshear said.
More than half of the $ 10 billion in new investment comes from the auto industry. This includes a recently announced $ 460 million expansion project for Toyota in Georgetown and the upcoming $ 5.8 billion Ford plant in Hardin County.
The arrival of more businesses and jobs is good news. But what about Kentucky businesses that are already struggling to staff?
“We’ve reached a point where the various factors that hit the workforce are increasing and haven’t been addressed in decades. Things like child care, retirement of baby boomers, too many people who have worked in the odd-job economy who are required to do the same thing every day. Too many disabilities, too unhealthy people to work, “Beshear said.” Part of what we’re focusing on is next generation of workers. Not losing a single person, whether they want to make a career out of high school, community and technical college or university, that we get them immediately. that they graduate. We have enough of talent here in Kentucky. We just need to connect them better with employers. “
As the economy continues to rebound from the pandemic, Beshear is optimistic that more companies will invest in Kentucky’s future.
“We are people who get things done. We have a strong workforce. We have a tradition of working in industries where you show up, you put in a hard day’s work, and you believe in this business and help this business move them forward. Said Beshear.