Local News

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Pessimism abounds among the economic experts who advise Governor Steve Beshear and Kentucky legislative leaders.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate is the highest in 16 years, manufacturing employment is down five-percent, exports have collapsed, consumer confidence is at an all-time low.

It’s bad and there’s no sunshine on the horizon, says Centre College economist Bruce Johnson.

“I don’t know how bad it’s going to be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we were looking at a recession like we had in the early to mid-1970’s,” says Johnson.

Other economists on the Consensus Forecasting Group share Johnson’s pessimism. Next week, the panel is expected to revise downward state revenue estimates for the current fiscal year.

Governor Beshear is already warning of an almost 300-million dollar budget shortfall, which likely will require spending reductions, or worse.