Governor Steve Beshear continues to talk about economic gains in the Commonwealth. On Monday, he brought a symbol of that success to an event in Lexington.
Site Selection magazine earlier this year named Kentucky the top state for economic development projects per capita in 2014. The governor was presented with a trophy at that time and he brought it to a news conference in Lexington celebrating the state's success. The media event was held at Xerox where communications manager Chris Gilligan says job growth has occurred. “Literally hundreds of jobs are attributed to the health benefits call center,” said Gilligan. “Obviously we ramp more at open enrollment times,” he continued. Gilligan says currently the firm has about 200 jobs as a result of such growth.
The Xerox official says more jobs will be added when open enrollment for health coverage starts later this year. Among other issues, Beshear talked about statewide unemployment, which went from eleven percent seven years ago to just over five percent now.
The governor admits, when it comes to unemployment, southeastern Kentucky remains a focal point. He maintains the Shaping Our Appalachian Region or SOAR program will work over time. "This is a multi year process. We're gonna have some successes, we're gonna have some failures. But, in the long haul, if eastern Kentuckians continue to buy in to this kind of effort, and so far, they are, then they'll diversify that economy and it will be successful," added Beshear.
The governor also cited exports as playing a key role in Kentucky's economic recovery, saying they reached an all-time high at more than 27 billion dollars last year.