UK Center Issues Report Showing Education Important to Kentucky's Economic Future

Identifying education as the most important factor affecting Kentucky’s economic future, the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) — the applied economic research branch of the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky — released its 46th Kentucky Annual Economic Report today.

The report is one of the many ways CBER fulfills its mandated mission as specified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes to examine various aspects of the Kentucky economy. CBER performs research projects for federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as for private sector and nonprofit clients nationwide. 

“Perhaps the most noteworthy economic trend over the last three-and-a-half decades is the growing importance of education for economic success,” said Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics and CBER Director Christopher Bollinger, one of the contributing authors of the publication.

The report covers a variety of issues ranging from an economic forecast for Kentucky in 2018 to a comprehensive presentation of agricultural, community, economic, economic security, education, energy, environment, health, infrastructure, innovation, population, and public finance factors affecting Kentucky’s future economic prosperity. As a result, Bollinger said, “The annual report will appeal to a broad spectrum of individuals — from business leaders to concerned citizens.”

Bollinger is the author of the report’s 2018 Kentucky economic forecast, and he expects the economic momentum of late 2017 will carry over to the first part of 2018 — with economic growth continuing to be robust.

“At 5 percent, the unemployment rate is hovering at historic lows, inflation is muted at about 2 percent, and average weekly wages increased in the state by 2.8 percent from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017," Bollinger said. “The main question facing us now is — how long will the expansion continue?”

In addition to the economic forecast, more than 100 trends, forces and factors affecting Kentucky’s economy are presented in the report. This includes several county-and regional-level comparisons of earnings and employment; county-level analyses of the social determinants of health as well as social capital; updated research results on Kentucky’s educational position relative to other states; and an updated analysis of Kentucky’s state finances compared to other states. In short, new and important data, information and analyses on Kentucky’s economic situation are contained throughout this report.

“We have produced an annual report that paints a diverse and comprehensive picture of our state’s economy, its communities, and its citizens," Bollinger said.  "Despite the constant change confronting us, there are timeless and enduring lessons. Pursuing educational excellence as well as economic innovation — since ideas, innovation and intellectual capital form the foundation of the knowledge economy — is essential for Kentucky to improve its per capita income and achieve broad prosperity.”

Digital copies of the Center for Business and Economic Research 2018 Kentucky Annual Economic Report can be obtained at the CBER website at or by calling 859-257-2912, or by sending an email to

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