Hardin County’s Key Growth Indicators Show Positive Trends

Elizabethtown MSA’s High National Rankings Reveal a Metro with Momentum

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (May 9, 2011) – As the base realignment at Fort Knox continues towards its completion in September 2011, the Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to grow at record rates which are now being recognized on a national basis.  The Elizabethtown MSA includes all of Hardin and Larue counties (and the cities of Elizabethtown, Hodgenville, Radcliff, Sonora, Upton, Vine Grove and West Point) – Kentucky’s Heartland.

Recently several studies have been released which clearly illustrate the growth in the metro area, in the area of job creation, personal income growth, housing values and employee compensation.

According to Moody’s Analytics1, the Elizabethtown MSA was the first fully contained MSA in Kentucky to move from recession to recovery in August 2009.  Job growth numbers are up substantially too: the Elizabethtown MSA led all Kentucky metros in job growth during the past year, as shown in the chart2 which follows:

Elizabethtown MSA Employment Growth Jobs

On May 6, 2011, New Geography, a respected online journal of information related to urban issues posted its annual ranking of the Best Cities for New Jobs4.  This study, which is conducted on behalf of Forbes, analyzes “the robustness of a region’s growth both recently and over time.”  The rankings include all 398 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly employment data.

The rankings were based on an analysis of the following criteria:

  1. Recent growth trend: the current and prior year’s employment growth rates, with the current year emphasized (two points)
  2. Mid-term growth: the average annual 2005 – 2010 growth rate (two points)
  3. Long-term trend and momentum: the sum of the 2005 – 2010 and 1999 – 2004 employment growth rates multiplied by the ratio of the 1999 – 2004 growth rate over the 2005 – 2010 growth rate (two points)
  4. Current year growth (one point)

The rankings confirm the explosive growth which is underway in the Elizabethtown MSA.  Out of 398 metros, the Elizabethtown MSA ranked 16th in the U.S. (and first in Kentucky) by New Geography in its 2011 Best Cities for Job Growth report.  The Elizabethtown MSA moved up 87 positions from the previous report.  The following chart lists the Top 20 MSAs for Best Cities for Job Growth:

Elizabethtown MSA Best City Growth

“It’s gratifying to see that Hardin and Larue counties are reaping the benefits of base realignment at Fort Knox,” said Hardin County United Chairperson Harry L. Berry.  “More importantly, at a time when many areas of the nation are still in recession, Hardin County continues to benefit from a diverse economy which is built upon the military, manufacturing and agriculture.  Hardin County is indeed poised for additional and significant growth in the near future,” said Berry.

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (U.S. Commerce Department) published personal income data for 366 metros, showing the change from 2008 through 2009.  The Elizabethtown MSA ranked fourth in the U.S. in per capita income growth during this period.  In fact, seven of the top 10 metros in income growth are markets with military bases which reaffirms the importance of base realignment (as shown on the chart5 which follows):

Employee compensation6 in Hardin County is also growing rapidly:

Elizabethtown Radcliff Vine Grove Compensation Growth

Finally, the manufacturing sector is also showing substantial growth, as shown in the chart7 which follows:

Elizabethtown MSA Industrial Manufacturing Growth
“Hardin County is strategically positioned for further growth,” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC and consultant to Hardin County United (HCU).  “The recent merger of the four chambers of commerce into the new Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and HCU projects such as the ongoing unified government study and educational mapping study will enable the County and its citizens to make some strategic choices for the future.  Growth, new jobs and opportunities for the future are there for the taking,” said Schmidt.

Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010.  The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies.  HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; One Knox Executive Director Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee.  Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.


1  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33312701/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

2  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29976394/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

3  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29976394/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

4  Source: www.newgeography.com/content/002208-2011-how-we-pick-best-cities-for-job-growth

5  Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Web Site: www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/mpi/2010/pdf/mpi0810.pdf

6  Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

7  Source: Moody’s Analytics http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29976394/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

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