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21st Century Workforce and Talent

Our economic development efforts need to focus on both jobs that keep families out of poverty and those that create higher incomes to drive economic prosperity.


Louisville ranks 9th out of 17 among peer cities for median wage, adjusted for cost of living.

In order to improve Louisville’s economy and move our economy ahead of our peers, we should consider economic development strategies that develop and attract jobs requiring higher levels of education.

Median wage, adjusted for COL



Source: BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013


Among our peers we rank 5th for jobs that pay above a living wage.

Using MIT’s living wage calculator, Jefferson County’s Cost of Living for a family of four (not considering childcare costs) is $36,795. We see that the median wage in Louisville is below this number, indicating that, by definition, more than half of our jobs pay below a living wage. In fact, only 4 in 10 jobs in our MSA pay a living wage. However, when we compare Louisville with our peer cities, we rank 5th of 17 in percentage of jobs paying a living wage.  Even though we have a good ranking, still less than half of our jobs pay at least a living wage.

Percent paying greater than living wage



Source: Wage and jobs data are from EMSI Analyst, Living Wage data are from MIT Living Wage Calculator bowed on the core county of each MSA.


More than half of job postings in Louisville are for positions paying above a living wage.

While 53% of our job postings are for jobs paying above a living wage, we still rank 10th among our peers.  This suggests we are moving in the right direction in growing well-paying jobs, but we are still lagging behind our peers.

Percent of job postings above living wage



Source:  EMI Analyst and Burning Glass


 Louisville ranks 11th in % of workers employed in technical and professional jobs.

Graduating more students who are college/career ready means a better prepared workforce because more students can begin college or other training programs.

% Employed in Technical & Professional


Source: 2013 ACS3-year estimates


Louisville ranks 13th for unemployment

Unemployment is the percentage of the civilian labor force, age 16 and older, that is unemployed but seeking work.



Source: County Health Rankings


In 2012 the birth rate of firms in Louisville was 6.4%; the death rate was 7.8%.

Between 1990 and 2012, fewer firms were born in Louisville MSA.

Firm Birth Rate and Death Rate, Louisville MSA


Source: Kauffman Foundation


Louisville ranks 14th in firm birth rate (2010).

In 2010, Louisville’s birth rate of firms was 6.07%, ranking it 14 out of 17 cities. The firm birth rate has declined over time, as it has in all peer cities.  Between 1990 and 2010, the birth rate of firms in Louisville declined almost 4%.

Firm Birth Rate, Louisville MSA vs. Peer Cities, 2010


Source: Census – Business Dynamic Statistics, using Kauffman Foundation methodology, Birth rate=Firms Age 0 divided by total Firms. Birth rate is the percent of new firms born in a year relative to the total number of firms.


Data provided by KentuckianaWorks; BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013; MIT’s living wage calculator; Wage and jobs data are from EMSI Analyst, Living Wage data are from MIT Living Wage Calculator based on core county of each MSA; Wage and jobs data are from EMSI Analyst, Living Wage data are from MIT Living Wage Calculator based on core county of each MSA; Burning Glass; EMSI Analyst and Burning Glass; Kauffman Foundation; Census – Business Dynamic Statistics