Kentucky is the 25th Best State for Business 2014

Revenue from Kentucky tourism increased in 2013. In addition, corn farming generated over $1 billion in revenue last year, while grain farming contributed 43,000 jobs and $31 million in revenue. Also, the price of horses is on the rise again, after taking a painful dive during the recession.

Previous State: New Hampshire Next State: Kansas

No. 25 Kentucky

Taxations & Regulations

Workforce Quality

Living Environment

Key Metrics
State GDP 

  • % Growth ’12-’13: 1.6
  • % Growth ’11-’12 v. Nat’l Avg. (2.5%): -1.1


  • Unemployment Rate Dec. 2013 %: 8
  • Comparison with Nat’l Rate (6.70%): 1.3

Domestic Migration

  • Domestic Net Migration 2013: -2,290
  • Rank: 30

State Government

  • State Debt per Capita Fiscal Year ’13 ($): 3,520
  • State & Local Gov’t Employees per 10k Residents: 582.7

State-Local Tax Burden

  • Rate (%): 9.4%
  • Compared to Nat’l Avg. (9.9%): -0.51%
Key Companies
  • Humana
  • YUM! Brands
  • Ashland
  • Brown-Forman
Development Trend Indicator: Neutral
Business interests on the defensive as job growth slides to bottom.
CEO Comments
“I have plants in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Indiana is by far the best of the three for business climate. Ohio is gaining in recent years. But Kentucky remains mired in the past in terms of education and labor relations. And the state treasury’s own fiscal condition is ominous—at some point in the future that will make things even worse for business in Kentucky.” 

“Kentucky has the most unrealized potential due to its location and resources. But the lack of any real courage in the state’s leadership allows the business and education environment to continue to be dominated by organized labor, and the state’s fiscal health is dismal. The results are a compelling testimony as Kentucky lags the nation in education, personal income and fiscal health. … businesses can expect to pay the price in the next five to ten years.”

Based on CEO Survey by

Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Tax Foundation


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