Louisville Job Market Rebounding from Pandemic



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The metro Louisville area has regained many of the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s according to a new research study by Kentuckiana Works.  And that spells good news for recent UofL graduates who are looking for employment.

Kentuckiana Works is a local workforce development agency.  According to their research study, at the height of job loss during the pandemic, the region lost 105,000 positions.  But close to 70,000 jobs have now been regained in a rapid rebound.   The recovery is much quicker than what occurred after the last major job losses in the region during the recession of 2008-09.

As a further sign of recovery from the pandemic, the region’s unemployment rate quickly dropped after peaking at 17.4% in April of last year.  The rate is now back down to pre-pandemic levels of about 4.4%

Kentuckiana Works reports that six industries now account for about two-thirds of local private sector jobs.  Those industries are:

  • Health care and social assistance
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail trade
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Accommodation and food services
  • Finance and insurance

Kentuckiana Works says the pandemic has altered the employment landscape to some extent with shifts in consumer spending increasingly moving to the online environment and a subsequent increase in automation.  That and the move to increasing online/virtual work means the need for a workforce that possesses advanced digital skills, something that plays directly in favor of UofL graduates.  

The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said the improved job outlook for UofL grads and students is noticeable.  "As we wrap up our jobs reporting for last academic year, our total postings were up 40.8% and our local internship postings were up 41.8%."  Fletcher also encourages students to look at different job functions within the top industries listed in the Kentuckiana Works research. 

Kentuckiana Works provides a variety of services including research, coordination of employer discussion groups, career center services and a program to help people overcome barriers and go to college.  Find out more about Kentuckiana Works at: https://www.kentuckianaworks.org