Gov. Andy Beshear said last year’s books have officially closed and Kentucky indeed shattered the all-time records for investment and job creation last year — with 264 private-sector new-location and expansion projects committed to invest over $11.2 billion and create over 18,100 full-time jobs.

Wages are rising in the commonwealth as well, as Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year and the second highest mark of the past seven years.

“The past year has included a number of challenges, from our continued fight against the pandemic to the tragic tornadoes that impacted so many lives in Western Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said.

“But it has also been a year of hope, with great reason to believe the future is bright in the commonwealth. This record year of economic growth means well-paying jobs for Kentuckians throughout the state and a vibrant, diverse economy that can support our workforce in the face of whatever challenges arise in the years ahead. I want to thank every company that has bet their future on Kentucky and our workforce.”

“Since the start of the Beshear administration in December 2019, more than 570 new-location and expansion projects have contributed to over $13.6 billion in new investments and more than 27,000 full-time jobs announced.

Kentucky’s record 2021 included the single largest economic development project in the state’s history. In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced a transformative $5.8 billion investment to establish the BlueOvalSK Battery Park in Hardin County, which will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.

The record-breaking project is at the center of the state’s automotive industry growth, which in 2021 included more than 40 announcements totaling $6.7 billion in new investments and more than 7,200 full-time jobs, as companies within the sector continue to evolve and prepare for a future that will rely more heavily on electric power.

Manufacturers are a driving force behind Kentucky’s continued economic growth, contributing to 13,900 of the announced jobs over the past year with $10.5 billion in new investments. Manufacturing plays a vital role across numerous key sectors in the commonwealth, with nearly 5,000 facilities employing over 250,000 Kentucky residents.

Other key industry growth across the state includes the food, beverage and agritech sector, which saw more than $1.1 billion in new investments across 46 projects that will create over 1,200 full-time jobs. That includes 20 announcements by bourbon and spirits-related companies creating 371 jobs with $391 million in investments.