Creating Jobs & Prosperity
Lexington has been listed by several national publications as a “top ranked city” in many quality of life categories and is the Horse Capital of the World. Many people choose to live in or visit because of the beautiful greenbelt of farms, horse-related entertainment, the University of Kentucky, Bourbon and Brewgrass Trails, wineries, restaurants, healthcare, schools, and so many other attractions and amenities. Many businesses also choose to locate in Lexington for these same reasons.
Imagine Lexington seeks to capitalize on opportunities to build on these existing strengths. As a city with a diverse economy that provides many employment options, leading industries include Healthcare and Social Assistance; Retail Trade and Accommodations and Food Services; and the Wholesale Trade and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Maintaining that diversity in industries and occupations and continuing to recruit employers, especially from industries with higher-paying jobs, will be beneficial to Lexington’s revenue flow and should provide upward mobility opportunities for employees in industries with lesser paying jobs.
Where are we now?
Agriculture in Lexington accounts for roughly 86% of Fayette County’s rural lands, with more than 50% dedicated to the equine industry; the Ag Cluster contributes approximately $8.5 million to the local tax base. Tourism is seeing an increase with key attractions including the natural beauty of the area, horse farms, equine events and racing, tours, the Bourbon Trail, restaurants, bourbon distilleries, scenic roadways, craft breweries, and more. Employers and industries range from small businesses, which employ 67.7% of Lexington’s workforce, to large entities such as the University of Kentucky, which is the single largest employer in the county. Revenue to support general operating expenses and the project needs of the city is generated from crucial employment and business taxes; increasing employment in industries with higher paying jobs can have a larger impact on increasing revenues. Workforce characteristics in Fayette County include a high educational attainment and a relatively stable labor force even as the city continues to grow; the need to recruit and retain young professionals will be important to the future.