50 in 50: Kentucky

50 states in 50 weeks: U.S. states economic and infrastructure highlights.

Key Economic Indicators

GDP: $194.3 billion

GDP 5-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) (2017-2021): 1.1% (U.S: 1.6%)

GDP per capita: $43,675 (U.S.: $58,154)

Population: 4.5 million

Population 5-year CAGR (2017-2021): 0.3% (U.S.: 0.5%)

Unemployment: 3.7% (U.S.: 3.9%)

Economic outlook ranking: #34 out of 50

Fiscal health ranking: #44 out of 50

Overall tax climate ranking: #18 out of 50 

Key Sectors and Metro Areas

Top five industry sectors by 2021 GDP:

GDP ($ billions)
% of total GDP
Real estate and rental and leasing
Health care and social assistance
State and local
Wholesale trade

Top three industry sectors by GDP 5-year CAGR (2017-2021):

GDP 5-year CAGR
Management of companies and enterprises
Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services
Finance and insurance

Top three metro areas by GDP:

  • Louisville/Jefferson County
  • Lexington-Fayette
  • Bowling Green

Top three metro areas by population 5-year CAGR (2016-2020):

  • Bowling Green
  • Elizabethtown-Fort Knox
  • Lexington-Fayette

Infrastructure Highlights

Infrastructure: ASCE Infrastructure Grade (2019): C-

Kentucky’s dams, levees, roads, and hazardous waste infrastructure are in poor condition according to the last survey conducted by the ASCE. Furthermore, a high percentage of bridges in the state are deemed to be structurally deficient. As a result, Kentucky will be receiving a relatively high amount ($438 million) of federal funds to repair them over the next five years. Additionally, the Cleaner Water Program, which was funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, has made over $250 million available for water systems projects that will need to be obligated by the end of 2024. Over the next five years, Kentucky’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds will address the following categories of projects (additional funds may be deployed as federal grants get awarded to states):

Improvement Area
$4.6 billion
Roads and highways
$647 million
Water infrastructure
$438 million
Bridges replacement and repair
$391 million
Public transportation
$204 million
$100 million
Broadband (minimum allocation)
$69 million
Electric vehicle (EV) charging network
$19 million
Wildfires protection
$18 million
Cyberattacks protection

Construction spending (Value of Construction Put in Place – CPiP):

  • Private Nonresidential 2021 CPiP: $5.3 billion; 4.7% 5-year CAGR (2017-2021), above overall U.S. CAGR of 1.4%
  • State & Local 2021 CPiP: $2.7 billion; -6.9% 5-year CAGR (2017-2021), below overall U.S. CAGR of 4.0%

AE Industry

ENR 500 firm headquarters (2022): 2

  • 12 deals with buyers from Kentucky
  • 20 deals with sellers from Kentucky

For customized market research, contact Rafael Barbosa at [email protected] or 972.266.4955. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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