Johnson City private sector workers avg. wage up in May

May’s labor force data delivered the first bit of good news about Johnson City MSA private sector wages in three years. The average weekly wage took a big increase over April’s average and was better than it was May last year.

Granted, it’s good news only because the loss of buying power is less dramatic than it has been, but it’s the first time since May 2012 that the average was better than the same month of the previous year.

May’s average private sector wage was $612 compared to $579 in April and $595 May last year. Buying power was down $45 a week for those workers when their May average wage is adjusted for inflation against a May 2008 pre-recession benchmark. The loss has been in the $60 a week or more range since February.

Last month’s average wage didn’t move the Johnson City MSA out of it’s next to lowest in the state rating, but it did put it on an almost even level with Clarksville and Kingsport-Bristol.

Private sector wages in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol were up for the eighth straight month in May on the year-to-year metric.

The average last was $629 compared to $634 in April and $588 May last year. When adjusted for inflation the average wage had $11 a week less buying power than it did before the recession. So far this year, that adjustment has been positive for three months and negative for two.

When compared to the state and national wages, the average private sector wage in the Tri-Cities was 26% lower than the national average and 20% lower than the state average in May.



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