Quantity and quality create the perfect workforce


The labor force of South Central Kentucky exceeds 137,000, and the broader workforce quickly reaches 750,000 people within a 100-mile radius.

These numbers are impressive, but quantity isn’t everything; the quality of our workforce is unmatched. An astonishing 93% of our manufacturing employers say that productivity of their employees is “good” to “excellent.” Topping this all off, our labor costs are below the national average. We have plenty of workers, skilled and ready, and at a lower rate.

Workforce Characteristics

Population 295,092 4,425,092
Labor Force 137,653 2,065,689
Unemployment Rate 3.8% 5.8%

In addition to South Central Kentucky's labor force, nearly 5,000 commuters are coming from within the state to work in the region, as well as more than 2,500 commuters coming from Tennessee. 


Contributing to the low overall cost of business that South Central Kentucky offers employers, South Central Kentucky wages are 29% lower than the national average and 13% lower than the state average.


  SCK Kentucky US
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting $20,070 $21,225 $37,647
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction $48,708 $66,846 $99,935
Utilities $57,254 $69,663 $91,650
Construction $42,132 $46,967 $54,109
Manufacturing $51,136 $57,333 $63,907
Wholesale Trade $49,467 $60,775 $72,672
Retail Trade $26,107 $27,225 $30,540
Transportation and Warehousing $47,255 $51,231 $52,385
Information $38,389 $47,496 $92,740
Finance and Insurance $53,161 $66,111 $98,605
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing $35,896 $41,337 $55,549
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $42,572 $60,697 $87,104
Management of Companies and Enterprises $77,150 $97,022 $114,832
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services $26,444 $28,499 $37,044
Educational Services $36,489 $40,652 $47,977
Health Care and Social Assistance $41,541 $47,402 $48,666
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation $19,359 $22,896 $34,650
Accommodation and Food Services $14,600 $16,190 $20,339
Other Services (except Public Administration) $22,788 $26,606 $31,199
Public Administration $35,312 $44,775 $61,053
Unclassified $28,471 $44,557 $48,663
Total - All Industries $37,483 $42,810 $52,291

 Data as of 2016Q4. *Note: Figures may not sum due to rounding. 


Work Ready Communities

Kentucky has the most rigorous certification programs in the nation to allow communities to demonstrate their workforce quality.Warren County was among the first in Kentucky to be certified as a "Work Ready Community" by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board. Since then, all South Central Kentucky counties have taken significant steps to becoming certified.

Criteria include: high school graduation rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, community commitment, educational attainment, soft skills development and Internet availability.

For more information on Kentucky's Work Ready Community Program, click here