Kentucky Facts & Figures


Kentucky has recently made sizeable inroads into global export markets, largely on the strength of its transportation equipment and chemical industries. Sectors such as Kentucky’s renowned livestock and world-famous bourbon distilleries, generate millions of dollars in profits and thousands of jobs through international trade. In fact, trade supports over 500,000 jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • Trade supported 539,300 jobs in Kentucky in 2013, or 22% of total jobs.1
  • In 2013, around 4,420 companies exported goods from Kentucky. Small- and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees made up 79% of total Kentucky exporters in 2013.2
  • In 2013, 100,700 people in Kentucky were employed by affiliates of companies that are at least 50% foreign-owned.3

Exports and Growth

  • KentuckyKentucky exported $28.1 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2015. Kentucky’s largest markets in 2015 were:
    • Canada ($7.2 billion)
    • United Kingdom ($2.6 billion)
    • Mexico ($2.2 billion)
    • China ($1.9 billion)
    • France ($1.8 billion)4
  • Agricultural exports are important to Kentucky’s economy, totaling over $2.5 billion in 2014, according to the USDA.5
  • Since 2011, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $395 million in exports from 40 companies in 21 communities in Kentucky.6
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has invested $115 million in Kentucky companies for overseas investment.7

Education and Research

  • In 2013-2014, 4,427 Kentucky students studied abroad.8
  • During 2015, 8,104 international students were enrolled in Kentucky colleges and universities and contributed $213 million to the Kentucky economy.9

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 1,557 Peace Corps volunteers from Kentucky have served in dozens of countries overseas.10

Download the Fact Sheet

  1. http://businessroundtable.org/resources/state-data#map=Benefits_of_International_Trade
  2. http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/statereports/index.asp
  3. http://businessroundtable.org/resources/state-data#map=Benefits_of_International_Trade
  4. http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/statereports/index.asp
  5. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/state-fact-sheets.aspx#.U2ERwbQzqX24
  6. http://customermap.exim.gov/index.cfm
  7. http://www.opic.gov/sites/default/files/docs/OPIC_local_impact.pdf
  8. http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/Fact-Sheets-by-US-State/2015
  9. http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/Fact-Sheets-by-US-State/2015
  10. http://files.peacecorps.gov/images/news/releases/15-PRS-top-states_v1.pdf

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