Kingsport-Bristol wages increasing at brisk pace


Kingsport- Bristol private sector wage increases continued at a brisk pace in June, so did the average hours worked.

June pay1The average weekly wage of $642 is 6.4% better than it was June last year. So far this year it has increased every month on the y-y comparison, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Johnson City MSA private sector workers also saw an increase. The $607 average was 1% better than June last year.

Private sector wages in Johnson City have increased for two straight months when compared to the same month of the previous year following 35 monthly declines.  That trend has reversed the pre-recession norm where Johnson City MSA’s private sector wage average was higher than the  Kingsport-Bristol’s average.

jUNE PAY3The number of hours in the average work week is a primary wage driver, and Johnson City MSA employers have been cutting hours.

Kingsport-Bristol work week is longer

Although there are more nonfarm jobs in the Johnson City MAS in June than there were June last year the average weekly hours worked in the private sector are down.  In June the average was 34.5 hours, down 0.6 from June last year.  Compare that to the average pre-recession work week and the total is down 1.8 hours.

Kingsport-Bristol also had more nonfarm jobs in June, but private sector workers there were getting more hours on the job.  In June the average work week was 36.2 hours, up 0.9 from June last year. Compared to the pre-recession bench mark the work week is up 1.1 hours.

Inflation and buying power

When June’s average wage is adjusted for inflation against a pre-recession benchmark, Johnson City workers have $55 a week less buying power while those in Kingsport-Bristol were even on the inflation curve.

Tri-Cities wages rank low in state comparison

Private sector wages in Kingsport-Bristol have not only assumed the role of leader in the Tri-Cities they’re a step higher on the monthly state-wide comparison.  The MSA has moved up one place from what used to be its normal position among the three state MSAs with the lowest average wage.

Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis traditional have a higher average wage than the state average. Morristown typically has a higher monthly average than Cleveland, Kingsport-Bristol Johnson City and Jackson.

 Cost of Living factor

Unfortunately I haven’t found a cost of living index based on the MSA level to factor it into the wage comparison. We do know the Tri-Cities has a lower cost of living that the national average. But most of those comparisons are made on the city level.

Sperlings’ BestPlaces has a tool to compare the cost of living with other cities http://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/

June pay2

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