Tri-Cities labor market trend remains positive despite fewer nonfarm jobs in May


Three straight months of Tri-Cities month-over-month nonfarm job growth ended in May. But if you look past the ups and downs of the monthly “data noisy” metric the jobs growth trend remains positive.

Non-adjusted, preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s payroll study shows 400 fewer jobs in the Johnson City MSA than there were during April and 500 fewer jobs in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA during the same period.

Switch to the year-to-date metric and there’s a gain of 200 jobs in the three-county Johnson City MSA and 300 in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol MSA.

These numbers are not seasonally adjusted like the national job growth numbers reported by most main steam media. And, since they are preliminary they are almost always some minor adjustments when the next month’s report is issued.

Compared to May last year things are looking much better in the Johnson City area. Nonfarm jobs are up by 2,100. In Kingsport-Bristol the May-May comparison shows 1,600 more jobs.

MTSU’s Bureau of Economics and Research Center heat charts offer a good picture of the employment picture by industry sector. The long view is the Johnson City market is postings stronger year-over-year gains than Kingsport-Bristol. That’s to be expected since it had declined more during the two-year post-recession recovery employment dip.

May’s Johnson City chart can be found at

The Kingsport-Bristol chart is at

May’s employment and unemployment report from the household survey is scheduled for release later this week.


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