LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville-Southern Indiana metro area has regained all 42,000 jobs lost during the 2007-09 economic recession, according to the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The latest figures are a milestone in the area's recovery from the downturn, though thousands more jobs are needed to bring down the 8.2 percent local unemployment rate.
"The success in attracting new companies to Louisville plus the investment and resurgence of the Ford plants and GE Appliance Park have created a situation where we are beating many other cities in rebounding from the recession," Mayor Greg Fischer said. "However, there is still a lot of work to do to put more of our citizens back to work."
The Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area had 627,500 nonfarm jobs as of July, according to the latest seasonally adjusted figures from the BLS. The figures are preliminary and subject to revision as more data becomes available.
July marks the first time Louisville has exceeded its previous employment peak of 626,600 jobs in February 2008, according to research by KentuckianaWorks, the local Workforce Investment Board. Local employment has been on the rise since February 2010, when the number of jobs hit bottom at 584,600.
"Louisville has successfully come out of the doldrums with the release of the latest nonfarm employment data," said Manoj Shanker, an economist with the Kentucky Office of Employment & Training.
Louisville is outperforming several peer metro areas in post-recession job growth.
Among the 100 most populated metro areas, the Louisville metro area ranked 26th in recovering from the recession, according to the latest edition of the Brookings Institution's Metro Monitor, with data through the first quarter (January to March) of 2013. The monitor gauges metro areas on employment, unemployment, the overall size of their economies and housing prices.
Among 10 broad industry sectors, manufacturing has been Louisville's biggest growth engine since the recession, both in the number of jobs added and percentage gains. In the last three years, manufacturing has added 14,100 jobs in the metro area, or 23 percent, for a total of 74,800 jobs as of July.
"Louisville has been helped by the resurgence of Ford Motor Company," Shanker said. "This is one of the reasons manufacturing employment has been growing rapidly."
Once on the verge of closure, Ford's retooled Louisville Assembly Plant now employs about 4,300 workers making the Escape SUV.
The metro area's next biggest growing sector has been leisure and hospitality, which includes establishments such as restaurants, hotels and bars. This sector has added 7,700 jobs, or 12.7 percent, in the last three years.
The metro area includes nine Kentucky counties surrounding Jefferson County and four Southern Indiana counties. Current employment figures are not available at the single-county level.
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