The greater Louisville area saw healthy growth in the number of people employed in the second quarter of 2015, both in total numbers and in several key areas of the economy. But even as unemployment continued to fall, so did wages, which are lower now (adjusted for inflation) than at any time in the past decade.
This information comes courtesy of the June 2015 jobs data released today by KentuckianaWorks in a new report titled “The state of the Louisville Labor Market.” The report highlights employment conditions in the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for April through June of 2015. The Louisville MSA includes Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties in Kentucky, and Clark, Floyd, Hamilton, Scott, and Washington counties in Indiana.
KentuckianaWorks is the Greater Louisville Workforce Development Board, which is federally mandated.
Overall, the news in the report is positive. The Louisville MSA’s unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, a significant decrease from the 6.1 percent rate from this time in 2014.
The sector featuring the greatest number of open high-wage job was health care, which includes registered nurses, doctors and therapists. Another area featuring a plethora of open high-wage jobs was information technology, especially for applications developers. Close to 8,000 jobs were posted in each of these fields between June 2014 and June 2015.
Not surprisingly, most of the best-paying jobs demanded some sort of higher education. Of the top 30 jobs in the Louisville MSA paying above $36,795 (the minimum annual living wage for a family with two adults and two children), 78 percent demanded a college degree or skill certification, i.e. postsecondary education.
The job with the highest number of open positions was tractor-trailer truck driver, with over 2,000 job postings in the second quarter of 2015. This job pays an average salary ranging from $33,740 to $51,834.
The second-most in demand job in the greater Louisville area is registered nurse, with approximately 1,700 job postings in the second quarter. Third was a tie between non-technical sales representative and business intelligence analyst; both positions saw just under 800 job postings in the second quarter.
Although the job market is strong, wages have continued their inflation-adjusted multi-year slide. The current median annual inflation-adjusted wage in the Louisville area is $33,720. In 2004, it was $35,091, adjusted for inflation. This current figure is not only the lowest number KentuckianaWorks showed on its chart, it’s also less than the area’s average annual living wage, indicating this is a jobs recovery, but not a salary recovery.
KentuckianaWorks offers training scholarships for the high-demand and high-wage jobs that are available. The scholarships can provide up to $4,600 per year for tuition and other costs, including books and tools.
In a prepared statement, Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks, said the agency is working hard to educate people on where the good-paying jobs are, and what education and skills they need for those positions.
To qualify for these scholarships interested candidates need to go to a Kentucky Career Center office in Jefferson, Bullitt or Shelby counties. There’s also more information available about these scholarships atwww.kentuckianaworks.org.