By James Allen IV, CEDIK Research Director
Over the past six months, CEDIK’s Research Program has been hard at work creating resources and conducting research that are relevant to the needs of communities in Kentucky. Our current research topics include rural entrepreneurship, the KY fine arts extension program, and rural access to health. Below, I have highlighted some of the exciting work being done by CEDIK’s Graduate Assistants (read all about them here) that is pushing the program forward.
CEDIK’s County Data Profiles seek to present Kentucky’s leaders with useful information at the county level. Therefore, we have created 120 profiles—1 for each county—on a host of public issues, including the economy, healthcare industry, and agriculture and food. Just two months ago we also added county-specific profiles that describe the retail sector! These can all be found on our website here. The positive feedback we have received on the County Data Profiles has encouraged us to do more. Simona Balazs is in the process of constructing Workforce profiles that will characterize county employment and commuting patterns. Additionally, Shaheer Burney is developing Small Business profiles that will describe how small enterprises fit into the county’s economy. We hope that both new profiles will debut sometime this summer!
CEDIK is also working with two graduate assistants who are writing their Master’s theses on the impact of the equine industry in Kentucky as part of a larger study in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Tom Sikora is using GIS mapping software to study the link between housing prices and proximity to horse farms in Fayette County. Using survey data from throughout the Commonwealth, Stephanie Johnson is analyzing how Kentucky residents value the presence of the equine industry as it contributes to the quality of life to some Kentucky communities, particularly in the Bluegrass Region. Both studies seek to measure impacts often ignored by researchers that may have important implications in the local area.
CEDIK’s Research Program has also sought to expand its reach through a grant with the Appalachian Region Commission (ARC) to evaluate over 200 of their health projects from the past decade. In February, CEDIK Executive Director Alison Davis and I went to Washington, DC to meet with ARC and look through the project files by hand. Graduate Assistant Georgette Owusu-Amankwah is helping us collect health data for every state in the Appalachian region, and we are currently developing a survey to send out to the various ARC projects in May. The evaluation has an opportunity to impact future ARC health programming not only in Eastern Kentucky but in 12 other states.
Jayoung Koo is CEDIK’s newest faculty addition. She is the first UK Landscape Architecture professor to have a joint appointment in Cooperative Extension.
In addition to classroom instruction, she will be providing design assistance to Extension communities throughout the state. Jayoung’s research and teaching interests include restoration of deteriorated landscapes, social factors of public places and support for healthy sustainable communities.
Jayoung recently presented at our Statewide Extension Advisory Council meeting earlier in the month. Her presentation provided a clear understanding of how she plans to work with Kentucky communities. In fact, you can check out her presentation here.
Jayoung joined CEDIK in September 2012 after finishing her PhD at the University of California, Davis. Her doctoral research explored conversions of urban brownfields into sustainable public open spaces and how people currently use and perceive of the transformed places.
We’re excited to have her as part of the CEDIK team! If you would like to contact Jayoung, send her an email.
Late last week CEDIK released the fourth county profile in our data series. This profile reports county level data on the retail sector of the county economy. Our goal was to provide economic analysis of the retail sector, and to also provide explanation of the economic analyses used. You can find all four of our county profiles on our website.
Data at the Area Development District (ADD) level was reported on each county profile as well. However, the data for the 15 ADDs cannot be easily compared from the county data profiles themselves. So we have provided some comparison of the retail sector across the ADDs in the tables and graphs below.
Let’s start by taking a look at the share of employment the retail sector provides for each ADD. In the graph below, we see that as a whole, the retail sector in Kentucky provides 10.7% of all employment for the state. The orange line across the chart shows us the statewide percentage. There are only a few ADDs that have a higher share of their employment coming from the retail sector than the state average. Big Sandy ADD in particular stands out has having the largest share of employment coming from their retail sector of all the ADDs.
Now let’s take a closer look at the ADD retail sector pull factors. To refresh everyone’s memory, a pull factor measures a county’s ability to attract shoppers in the retail sector. If the pull factor is less than 1, its own residents are shopping in other counties. If greater than 1, the county is pulling in retail shoppers from other counties.
As you can see, most ADDs are able to attract shoppers into their area to make retail purchases (ADDs with a Pull Factor >1). There are four ADDs though that are not able to capture enough retail shopping to equal their average resident’s spending on retail purchases (ADDs with a Pull Factor <1). This means that these four ADDs have residents meeting some of their retail needs outside of the ADD.
This points to an opportunity for economic development for these ADDs. How might an ADD work to attract more shoppers into their retail establishments?
CEDIK can assist communities with developing a retail strategy that attracts more shoppers. Contact us if you are interested in learning how.
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