How May’s Kingsport-Bristol, Johnson City MSA jobs report compare to June’s national focus


By DON FENLEY

Here where economists are focusing their attention on today’s job report.

June’s local job creation numbers won’t be available until late the month, but May’s numbers give some context to how the local labor market is performing in relation to what pundits and economists are looking for in today national jobs report.

A little more than 40% of the jobs added last year have come in food service, retail help. It’s expected that trend will continue. While services jobs overall have recovered their pre-recession level, retail jobs have not.

RETAIL

Kingsport-Bristol’s fourth largest job provider.

May’s jobs compared to May last year down 2%. Compared to May 2008 they’re down 4.5% – about 700 jobs.

In the Johnson City MSA retail is the third largest job provider. May’s total was up 2% from May last year. Compared to May 2008 it’s up 2% – about 200 jobs.

LEISURE and HOSPITALITY

Kingsport-Bristol fifth largest jobs provider. May growth 3.4% from last year. Since the recession down 1.6% – about 200 jobs.

Johnson City MSA’s fourth largest jobs sector. May’s total up 6.7% since May last year. Since recession up 13.1% – about 1,100 jobs.

Economists are expecting manufacturing and construction hiring, which began to soften before the recession, continued to lag the overall jobs recovery. According to the Wall Street Journal “the U.S. has 1.6 million fewer factory jobs than when the recession began, as manufacturers focus much of their hiring overseas and use automation to keep costs down at home. Construction hiring remains restrained by muted business investment in new buildings. The recovery in home building has recently gone through a soft patch, while builders focus increasingly on multi-family developments that are less labor intensive.”

CONSTRUCTION

Kingsport-Bristol’s seventh largest job sector. Jobs even with May last year.  Since the recession the sector is down 19.5% – 1,600 jobs.

Johnson City MSA’s eight largest sector. May’s total 3.7% better than last year. Since recession down 15.2% – about 500 jobs.

MANUFACTURING

Kingsport-Bristol top jobs provider.  May’s total down 0.5%. Since the recession down 19.9% – about 2,600 jobs.

Johnson City MSA’s sixth largest provider. May’s total down 4% from last year. Since recession down 25.8% – about 2,500 jobs.

Idle workers in both the national and local labor market has kept wage pressure lower during the economy and change is expected to be slow.  The WSJ says, “Throughout the latest economic expansion, private-sector employees have seen their average hourly earnings climb about 2% a year, barely ahead of inflation. Stagnant wages have helped to restrain consumer spending, which accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. economic output.” That’s the case in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol MSA when looking at the annual average private sector wage, but not so in Johnson City.

AVERAGE PRIVATE SECTOR WAGES

Kingsport-Bristol

May – $587, down $44 a week compared to May last year.

$42 a week less buying power from May 2008 when adjusted for inflation.

Last year’s annual average was $623, down $5 a week from 2012.

Adjusted for inflation 2013 annual average buying power is up $3 a week from 2008.

Johnson City

May $598, down $33 a week from May last year.

$58 a week less buying power when May 2008 average is adjusted for inflation.

2013 annual average $612 – down $23 a week from 2012. $44 a week less buying power when compared to 2008 annual average adjusted for inflation.

©Don Fenley

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