Annual Manufacturing Wage and Benefit Survey Shows 55% of South Central Kentucky Manufacturers Plan to Hire in 2014

Published Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce today hosted its annual Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Wage and Benefits Survey presentation which seeks to highlight the findings of the annual survey conducted of Kentucky manufacturers.

The survey was released on December 3, 2013 and surveyed a total of 190 companies across the Commonwealth representing 28,785 employees. KAM President & CEO Greg Higdon kicked off the presentation that revealed optimistic trends in the state’s manufacturing community, as well as in South Central Kentucky. 

"The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers is always seeking ways to help our manufacturing members manage the bottom line, and salaries and benefits are one area that we can assist with," stated Greg Higdon, KAM President & CEO.  "Our annual Wage & Benefits Survey Report is a valuable tool for manufacturers to use in their efforts to compensate employees in a fair and competitive manner."

The manufacturing sector in the United States is the second largest in the world and the industry employs 8.2 percent of the US workforce. In Kentucky, manufacturing jobs account for more than 219,000 jobs.

Survey results demonstrate an upward trend in the demand for manufacturing workers as 55 percent of South Central Kentucky manufacturers say they intend to hire 1-19 employees in 2014. This directly correlates with the 57 percent of manufacturers statewide who indicated the same initiative.

These numbers come on the heels of a report released late last year in support of manufacturing in South Central Kentucky and South Central Kentucky calling for a demand of 4,500 workers by 2016 and 9,000 by 2020 and illustrate the same call to action for a skilled workforce.

“We have taken proactive steps to identify the need for a skilled and motivated manufacturing workforce in our region,” stated Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Ron Bunch. “The KAM Survey results only solidify the efforts we have taken to unite the organizations and individuals in our community who can rise to the challenge. We can use these numbers as fuel to ignite the implementation plan already being rolled out in many ways to meet the needs of our industries.”

The manufacturing sector has a significant impact on the economy in South Central Kentucky and across the Commonwealth. The KAM Survey reported 1.7 spin-off jobs that exist for every manufacturing job. These positions exist to meet the needs of the industry, including suppliers, warehousing and transportation positions.

Manufacturing wages in South Central Kentucky continue to be higher than the average wage for other occupations. Of the companies surveyed, manufacturers reported an average wage of $21.65 per hour, 21 percent higher than the average wage per hour for all occupations in the region reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012. This hourly rate is 9.7 percent lower than the state’s reported average wages providing a competitive business advantage for regional manufacturers.

Manufacturing workers in the region received benefits slightly higher than those in other parts of the state and generated a productivity level that was indicated by 93 percent of regional manufacturers as being good or excellent.

“We have positioned ourselves in the market as being a location that provides a strategic location, low cost of business and a skilled and motived workforce,” stated Bunch. “The response of the manufacturers in our region echoes this promise and demonstrates why South Central Kentucky continues to grow and flourish.”

The KAM survey is conducted annually by IQS Research and is sponsored by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Investment and Office of Employment Training; Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and South Central Kentucky regional economic development partnership; Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation; Northwest Kentucky Forward; Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation; Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Foundation for Kentucky Industry, Inc.; and the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers.

For more information on KAM, visit


About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,100 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.

About KAM:

Established in 1911, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers is Kentucky's most effective advocate for manufacturers. KAM's mission is to protect and create a manufacturing-friendly environment in Kentucky. In addition to advocating, KAM connects, educates and provides cost saving programs and products to members.