While job market, economy healing, still has some problems: Chamber report

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — While all major indicators suggest the Commonwealth’s economy is healing, they also show Kentucky’s economy is still operating below pre-pandemic levels while employers struggle to fill open positions across the state, according to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce report, .

The report us done in partnership with the University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research.

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Highlights include:

  • Employment in Kentucky grew in the first quarter of 2021 but still remains below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Kentucky’s gross domestic product continued to grow in the final quarter of 2020.
  • The gap between Kentucky’s labor force participation rate and the national rate is almost a full point wider than it was before the pandemic.
  • Kentucky’s housing market continues to follow national and regional trends with fewer listings, faster sales, and higher prices.

“Things are looking much different today. Almost 2 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, restrictions are being phased out, and our positivity rate is down to just above 3 percent. This is welcome news for all Kentuckians as we continue the hard work of getting life back to ‘normal’ and rebuilding our economy,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts.

“Workforce will be critical not only to our economic recovery but also to the Commonwealth’s competitiveness in the post-pandemic economy. I want to encourage policymakers to uses these reports to implement policies that support economic growth and workforce development.”

The Kentucky Chamber and the University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research are publishing a report every three months taking a deep dive into the Commonwealth’s economy as the state works to rebuild, recover and get citizens back to work.

The goal of these regular, quarterly reports will be to inform the public, provide economic trends to business leaders as they make decisions, and prepare lawmakers as they shape policy essential to the state’s economic recovery.

The Chamber will release a third update Summer 2021.