Gov. Andy Beshear joined executives from GE Appliances, a Haier company, to celebrate the completion of the company’s $60 million expansion at its global headquarters in Louisville to add 4-door refrigerator production, a project creating more than 245 full-time jobs.
“GE Appliances has a long history as an innovator and jobs-creator here in Louisville, and with today’s announcement is showing a renewed commitment to our commonwealth, our people and our growing manufacturing industry,” Gov. Beshear said. “With more than 245 new manufacturing jobs for Kentuckians, we are furthering our positive momentum and growth as we continue to build an economy that works for every Kentucky family.”
GE Appliances’ expansion at Building 5 in Appliance Park, located at 4000 Buechel Bank Road, boosts the company’s high-end refrigeration profile, as it introduces production of 4-door refrigerators to its U.S. operations. The plant also is adding new quad-door and counter-depth models to its assembly capabilities. As well, the investment signifies the completion of the company’s domestic conversion to next-generation refrigerants, which offer consumers more environmentally friendly options by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Since 2016, GE Appliances has invested $1 billion in new products, technology and its U.S. operations and created more than 2,000 new jobs, with close to 1,000 new jobs in Louisville,” said Kevin Nolan, president and CEO for GE Appliances. “We are committed to growing our manufacturing footprint in the United States to serve customers and owners faster and better. This investment demonstrates our focus on becoming the leading appliance manufacturer in the U.S. We’re thrilled to produce these high-demand refrigerants in the United States for the first time.”
Bill Good, vice president of manufacturing at GE Appliances, commended the company’s existing workforce for helping make the expansion possible.
“The completion of this investment shines a light on the dedication of our workforce,” Good said. “The plant expansion was completed during COVID, while suppliers and vendors were unable to travel to the plant and product demand was at record levels. Our teams worked tirelessly every weekend to ensure progress without disrupting production.”
Appliance Park in Louisville is GE Appliances’ largest manufacturing operation, with more than 6 million square feet for production of washers, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators.
Appliance Park sits on 750 acres in southern Jefferson County, where GE Appliances began production in 1953. The campus serves as GE Appliances’ headquarters, and includes marketing, sales and support functions. Appliance Park also houses the company’s technology and engineering center, industrial design, distribution center and warehouse operations. GE Appliances employs more than 7,100 people full time at Appliance Park and a nearby call center.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer commented on the company’s continued growth and significant job creation.
“GE Appliances, a Haier Company, is an institution in our community, and throughout the years, it has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the city of Louisville and our residents. Over the past three years, it’s been exciting to watch as the company has added more than 1,000 jobs, proving that Louisville’s rich manufacturing tradition remains an important economic driver for our city,” Mayor Fischer said. “Today, we applaud the continued investment in Louisville with the $60 million refrigeration plant expansion. It’s clear, the future of manufacturing is being assembled here.”
Appliance Park is among approximately 4,500 manufacturing-related facilities in Kentucky, which employ about 260,000 Kentuckians statewide. The state excels as a national leader in manufacturing, with about 13% of its workforce holding a job in the sector compared to the U.S. average of 8.5%.
GE Appliances’ investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state surges ahead following the effects of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
Last month, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s year-to-date private-sector new-location and expansion figures, which include over $2 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 4,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through May, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.15 before benefits, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.