Experts say every part of state hit by recession

Economists and business executives highlighted job loss after job loss during a teleconference about Kentucky's economy Monday hosted by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

In discussing Lexington, David Parks of the CPA firm Dean, Dorton & Ford noted layoffs at manufacturers including auto suppliers, as well as at companies, like Lexmark International, that are headquartered in the city.

"We can clearly say that nearly every sector of the economy here has been touched one way or another," he said of the recession.

He predicted that businesses will begin to see higher costs for unemployment insurance, if they haven't already, because of the increased number of layoffs.

Other parts of the state reported similar economic woes. In southern Kentucky, "we're currently non-existent in the (houseboat) market," said Steve Lochmueller, president and chief executive of Sumerset Houseboats. "There are no new orders out there."

In Eastern Kentucky, Jim Booth of Booth Energy said lower demand for coal has companies like CONSOL Energy idling mines.

He also said that TECO Coal, which owns Premier Elkhorn Coal, is reducing staff at its mines.

"The demand for coal in the spot market is practically non-existent these days," Booth said.

One bright spot was in Western Kentucky, which is benefiting from the return of many Fort Campbell soldiers previously in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Their return "will certainly be a needed shot in the arm for their economy," said Bill Jones of U.S. Bank in Paducah.