UK's CBER Releases Report on State's Economy

Feb 12, 2014

Top economists from across the state gathered in Lexington Tuesday for the annual Economic Outlook Conference.

Credit UK Gatton School

The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Kentucky released its 42nd Kentucky Annual Economic Report Tuesday.

CBER Director Chris Bollinger, who authored the report's 2014 Kentucky economic forecast, said he is "generally optimistic about the state's economic prospects this year.

“Recovery from the so-called Great Recession has been frustratingly slow because of its depth and length,” said Bollinger. “The future course of Kentucky’s economy will depend in large part on businesses and consumers becoming comfortable with the certainty of the recovery. We expect this comfort level to increase as growth gathers steam and the unemployment rate continues to drop.”

He is forecasting a 2 percent increase in Kentucky’s gross domestic product and a decline of the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent, which is more or less on par with his expectations for the U.S. economy this year.

The Kentucky Annual Economic Report is one of the many ways CBER — the applied economic research branch of UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics — 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 clients nationwide.

“The Annual Economic Report contains a vast amount of information about the state’s economy that can be used by policymakers as well as citizens to become better informed on economic issues,” said Gatton College Dean David Blackwell.

In addition to the 2014 Kentucky economic forecast, the report covers a variety of issues including a comprehensive presentation of economic, income security, education, innovation, health, environmental, energy, infrastructure, community, public finance, and population factors affecting Kentucky’s future economic prosperity.

"The Annual Report will appeal to a broad spectrum of individuals — from business leaders to concerned citizens.” Said Bollinger, who in addition to being director of CBER is also a Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics.

More than 100 trends, forces and factors affecting Kentucky’s economy are presented in the report. This includes, but is not limited to, data and information about how Kentucky high school students perform on advanced placement exams compared to students in other states, whether there are more people at risk for chronic disease in Kentucky compared to the U.S. and neighboring states, how the income distribution has changed over the last three decades in Kentucky compared to the U.S., the level of entrepreneurial activity in Kentucky compared to other states, and detailed information about factors affecting state taxes and revenue — which affects the provision of public services from health care to public safety to education.

The breadth of the annual report reflects the diversity of the collaborators who worked with CBER to produce it — including the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking or iNET, which is organized and staffed by the College of Communication and Information, and the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, which is part of the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

According to Bollinger, “We have produced an Annual Report that paints a diverse and complicated picture of our state’s economy, its communities, and its citizens. 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 2014 Annual Economic Report can be obtained at the CBER Web site at http://cber.uky.edu or by calling 859-257-7675 or sending email to cber@uky.edu.