February Tri-Cities jobs, employment reports positive


The Tri-Cities jobs and employment was positive in February according to preliminary reports that measure employment and jobs. That’s a reversal from a previous pattern where the current population survey showed a decline in employment while the current employment survey showed an increase in nonfarm jobs.


The data for this report is preliminary, not seasonally adjusted and still subject to changes next month from the annual adjustment.


The data for this report is preliminary, not seasonally adjusted and still subject to changes next month from the annual adjustment.


The data for this report is preliminary, not seasonally adjusted and still subject to changes next month from the annual adjustment.

The employment report comes with the caveat that preliminary, unadjusted data from 2010 forward is still subject to more revision next month as part of the annual adjustment.  This is the report used for the monthly unemployment rate. It’s the smaller of two monthly labor market studies and sometimes called the household survey. It’s broken down to the 25,000 population and above city level. The household survey focuses on who had a job – not where the job is located.  For example, February’s employment for Kingsport is up 156 from January and 1,541 higher than February 2014. But the employment report does not tell you where those Kingsport residents had jobs. Obviously, some are working in Bristol. Others commute to Johnson City or elsewhere.  The employment survey – sometimes called the payroll survey –  is a larger sample and viewed by many as the more reliable labor market indicator. It breaks jobs down by public and private sectors and by the 12 job sectors. However, it’s not available on the county or city level. It also under reports self-employed and contract workers.

On the Tri-Cities and MSA levels February employment was higher than it was in January and lower than February last year.

Here’s how February’s unemployment rates looked across the Tri-Cities compared to January’s jobless rate.


Tri-Cities – 6.3% down 0.7%

Johnson City MSA – 6.6%, down 0.9%.

Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN VA – 6.2%, down 0.5%.

Greeneville Micropolitian Area – 7.8%, down 1%.

Carter Co. – 7.3%, down 0.8%

Greene Co. – 7.8%, down 1%.

Johnson Co. – 7.4%, down 0.6%.

Sullivan Co. – 6.3%, down 0.6%

Unicoi Co. – 9.1%, down 1.2%.

Washington Co. – 6.1%, down 0.2%.

Bristol, TN – 5.8%, down 1.3%

Johnson City – 6.2%, down 0.1%.

Kingsport – 6.3%, down 0.3%.



Employment is up in Kingsport on both the month-to-month and year-to-year metrics. It’s the only city with both metrics positive.


Employment is up compared to January and lower on the February year-to-year metric.


Employment is higher than January, but lower than February last year.

The payroll survey shows more nonfarm jobs in the Tri-Cities when compared to February last year and to January’s total with the strongest month-to-month gains in the Johnson City MSA. %.  When compared to the January total the Johnson City MSA is up 1.2% and Kingsport-Bristol is up 0.4%. Compared to February 2014 the three-county Johnson City MSA was up 1.8% and the four-county Kingsport-Bristol MSA was up 2%. Revised data show the Tri-Cities added a little more than 1,900 nonfarm jobs in 2014.

Johnson City saw year-to-year growth in the construction, manufacturing, information, professional and business services and the education and health service sectors.

Kingsport-Bristol saw growth in the manufacturing, retail, transportation, education and health services, leisure and hospitality and government sectors.

A good way to track individual sector performance it with MTSU’s heat carts, which will be referenced on this site as soon as it’s available.



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