Looking to do business with Kentucky manufacturers? Having a deep understanding of the state’s manufacturing climate can help when it comes to talking to Kentucky manufacturers.
Today, we’re exploring some key facts and insights on Kentucky manufacturing and providing information on the ten largest factories in the state.
According to data collected by MNI, compiler of the industrial information that powers IndustrySelect, Kentucky is currently home to 3,946 manufacturers employing 283,073 workers.
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According to MNI, Louisville is Kentucky’s largest city based on industrial employment, home to 67,260 workers. Louisville also has the distinction of ranking among the top manufacturing cities in the U.S, ranking 9th nationally for number of manufacturing workers. in the U.S. Read more: Top Manufacturing Cities in the U.S.
The city of Lexington ranks second in Kentucky with 6,299 jobs.
Other top cities in Kentucky include
• Bowling Green (11,784 jobs)
• Georgetown (11,450 jobs)
• Florence (9,450 jobs)
Jefferson County is Kentucky’s largest in terms of industrial jobs, home to 72,543 workers. This is followed by Fayette County (19,713), Boone (19,185), Scott (10,971) and Warren (10,545).
Taking a look at the state’s top industries, the transportation equipment industry accounts for a large share of the state’s manufacturing employment, representing 21% of the state’s industrial workforce.
Another 12% is represented by the food industry, while industrial machinery accounts for 10%.
Fabricated metal products and rubber/miscellaneous plastic products are also major industries in the state, each accounting for 8% of Kentucky’s industrial employment.
Looking at year-pver-year industry data, Kentucky industries that added the most jobs included:
• Prefabricated metal buildings up 139%
• Plastic materials and resins: up 89%
• Industrial furnaces & ovens: up 88%
• Medical & hospital equipment: up 45%
• Chewing & smoking tobacco: up 30%
• Industrial trucks and tractors: up 25%
MNI reports there are 17,213 executive contacts among Kentucky’s manufacturing companies, including ,908 presidents, 1,439 owners and partners; 1,074 vice-presidents and 1,101 sales, marketing and purchasing executives.
Other facts to know about Kentucky manufacturers, based on IndustrySelect’s advanced criteria available to subscribers, include ownership, distribution and other trends. Let’s take a look:
• 1% of Kentucky manufacturers are women-owned
• 11% are publicly-owned companies
• 12% import raw materials
• 21% distribute their products internationally.
Next, we’ll take a look at the state’s top companies.
|Haier US Appliance Solutions, Inc.||8,500||Louisville||KY|
|Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.||8,200||Georgetown||KY|
|Ford Motor Co., Kentucky Truck Plt.||8,000||Louisville||KY|
|Ford Motor Co., Louisville Assembly Plt.||4,000||Louisville||KY|
|Lexmark International, Inc.||3,275||Lexington||KY|
|Metalsa Structural Products||2,000||Elizabethtown||KY|
|Bowling Green Metalforming, LLC||1,800||Bowling Green||KY|
|Dart Container Corp. Of Kentucky||1,650||Horse Cave||KY|
|Logan Aluminum, Inc.||1,500||Russellville||KY|
1. Haier US Appliance Solutions, Inc. (Louisville, KY)
A subsidiary of Chinese electronics company Haier Group, this Louisville facility produces refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and ranges. The company ranks third in the state with 6,000 employees and recently made headlines when it unveiled plans to add a new $80 million dishwasher manufacturing line, which will add another 280 jobs to the facility.
2. Toyota Motor Manufacturing (Georgetown, KY)
At this sprawling 8.1 million square foot plant in Georgetown, 8,200 workers manufacture the Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Avalon Hybrid and the Lexus ES 350. Established in 1988, the plant has produced 11 million vehicles over the past 33 years and ranks as Kentucky’s top industrial employer.
3. Ford Motor Co., Kentucky Truck Plt. (Louisville, KY)
A major Kentucky industrial employer with 8,000 employees, Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant was established in 1969 and currently produces the Ford F-250-F-550 Super Duty Trucks, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator.
4. Mersen, Inc. (Louisville, KY)
Employing 5,000 in Louisville, Mersen, Inc. produces anticorrosion and process equipment and also operates as a graphite heat exchanger repair facility.
5. Ford Motor Co., Louisville Assembly Plant (Louisville, KY)
One of two Ford facilities in the state, Ford’s Louisville assembly plant is among the oldest auto manufacturing locations in the Mid-South, established in 1955. This location produces the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair and employs 4,000.
6. Lexmark International (Lexington, KY)
Operating out of a 3 million square-foot facility in Lexington, Lexmark International is a major producer of laser & inkjet printers & printer consumables. This location also serves as the company’s corporate headquarters.
7. Metalsa Structural Products (Elizabethtown, KY)
With 20 facilities in eight different countries Metalsa Structural Products is a global manufacturer of automotive structures, chassis and electrified solutions, serving the auto industry. Established in 1994, the Elizabethtown facility is one of two in the state, with a second facility in Owensboro, and employs 2,000.
8. Bowling Green Metalforming, LLC (Bowling Green, KY)
A subsidiary of automotive supplier Magna International, Bowling Green Metalforming produces truck frames and chassis, engine cradles, and other automotive frames. The company employs 1,800 at the Bowling Green facility, making it the state’s eighth-largest industrial supplier.
9. Dart Container Corp (Horse Cave, KY)
Employing 1,650 in Horse Cave, Dart Container Corp produces polystyrene foam cups. Headquartered in Mason, Michigan, Dart Container Corp is the world’s largest manufacturer of foam cups and containers.
10. Perdue, Inc. (Beaver Dam, KY)
Rounding out our top ten list is meat processing giant Perdue, which employs 1,500 at this Beaver Dam chicken processing facility. Founded in 1920 by Arthur Pedue and his wife, Pearle, Perdue Farms has grown to become a massive meat processing operation with a revenue of $6.7 billion and 21,000 employees worldwide.
Interested in other states? Browse all of our state news here.
For those looking to do business with manufacturers, IndustrySelect’s database of 460,000 U.S. manufacturers is a top resource for both developing and researching sales leads in the manufacturing sector. An IndustrySelect subscription can put you on a first-name basis with Kentucky’s 4,800 industrial companies and 17,000 executives. Subscribers can select up to 30 data points on any manufacturing company in the U.S. to help identify or pre-qualify leads. Company profiles also include the contact information for hard-to-find executive decision-makers.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in March of 2021. It is updated annually to reflect new statistics on Kentucky's manufacturing sector.