New report pegs Louisville dead last in regional economic health

Good thing we’re building a $238 million taxpayer-funded shrine to the gods of false progress, eh?


In what’s being termed a major wake-up call, a first-of-its-kind scorecard finds Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky lagging far behind similar metro areas in key economic measures.

From education to jobs to wages, the study compares the region to 11 other metros that we compete with for jobs, people and business or that we aspire to be more like.

The report’s sponsors want the findings to spur political and business leaders to speed the pace of job attraction, improvements in education and investment in promising businesses, and to work across state and local jurisdictions to do that. “Some new ways of working together are necessary to get us to where we need to be,” says Ellen van der Horst, president of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

The study, presented here in detail for the first time, is the first of a planned series of measurements that will gauge the progress of the region when compared to others.

The study, dubbed the Regional Indicators Report and conducted by the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University, found that our fair River City ranks dead last out of 12 regional/sister-type cities in terms of overall economic growth.

One of the entities that commissioned the report, Agenda 360, a kind of quasi-governmental thinktank designed to improve Southwestern Ohio’s sorry state of affairs, had the following to say:

The indicators selected are reliable, diverse and have comparable regional benchmarks that are regularly updated. Seven of the 15 (benchmarks) are grouped as “People” Indicators and illustrate that the community has work to do in creating a more equitable community and a higher quality of life for all. The remaining indicators, termed “Jobs” Indicators, relate to the composition of our workforce.

The report illustrates our current state and lays out our challenge. Right now, as a region, we are not performing well on many indicators when compared to other regions. Overall, Cincinnati ranked 10th on the list of 12 regions– only ahead of Cleveland and Louisville – when looking at all 15 factors. The region has a particularly poor ranking in the area of “Educational Attainment,” scoring 10th overall, and ranks last in the number of “Knowledge Jobs.”

That means the cities of Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; Columbus; Denver; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; Pittsburgh; Raleigh, N.C.; and St. Louis are all fairing better than Possibility City, where it’s becoming increasingly clear that the only sure possibility is one of economic deprivation.

For Christ’s sake: We can’t even best Cleveland, a city whose nearby Cuyahoga River has a history of flammability and whose toxic Lake Erie shore is a haven for surfers/suicidal maniacs.

If Cleveland’s chamber of commerce knows something we don’t, then Greater Louisville Inc. has more work cut out for it than we can possibly imagine.