Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kentucky Not Least Great After All

As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I almost instinctively flinch whenever I see a headline like "Which State Was Least Great in 2008?" on the Atlantic site. Kentucky is near the bottom of so many things that it used to be a joke that everybody in Kentucky said a prayer of thanks for Mississippi so we could be 49th rather than 50th.

But this measure of the recession wasn't so bad for Kentucky. We've lost .1% of our GDP (39th), 2.6% on our unemployment rate (31st), and another 1.3% (tied for 8th) on our home prices. Given that the recession has taken a bite out of the economy and unemployment has risen (it's about 10% in my county), we not exactly doing well. But we're not really that close to being a big recession state like Florida or Alaska either. In particular, people in Kentucky have hardly lost anything on their homes.

Kentucky might not have the "Unbridled Spirit" emblazoned on our license plates, but we're not the "Least Great in 2008" either.


a said...

Is this just a case of not having far to fall?

- Amanda M.

Ric Caric said...

Ah! A little "recently moved to Tennessee" attitude. Perhaps you think that Tennessee's consistent mediocrity of tying for 33rd in GDP loss, tying for 33rd in unemployment loss, and tying for 25th in falling housing prices is reason to be proud of your Volunteer status. But it turns out that Kentucky averages 26th on these three measures while our neighbor to the South ONLY averages 30th. That makes us Less Least Great than you.

a said...

Ha! No, I still consider myself a Kentuckian and have the same cringing reaction every time I see a ranking of states on anything. (I have always loved Mississippi and Arkansas for the reason you provide.)

No, my point was just that these are measures of how much things have worsened, not their absolute bad status. I was just saying that maybe we (and I still count myself in the KY we) didn't have as far to fall as some other states.

Ric Caric said...

That's true to a certain extent, but it does seem there's some improvement here. Isn't the usual pattern one of recessions hitting Kentucky earlier and staying longer? This recession doesn't seem to be hitting so hard as it does in a struggling area like upstate NY.