Kingsport-Bristol, Johnson City MSA wages up in Dec.

Private sector wages were up in both of the Tri-Cities’ two regions in December.

The average for the three-county Johnson City MSA saw its highest year-to-year gain (2.2%) in December, which was the fifth straight month it has increased.

The increase in the four-county Kingsport-Bristol MSA was 1.8%.  It increased every month last year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report, December’s average private sector wage was in the Johnson City MSA was $602, up from $589 December last year.

The average in Kingsport-Bristol was $640, up from $629 last during the same month last year.


When last month’s weekly wage in the Johnson City MSA is adjusted for inflation from a December 2008 pre-recession benchmark it had $55 a week less buying power.

Buying power for Kingsport-Bristol private sector workers increased by $33 a week when the same inflation adjustment is made.


During the recovery Kingsport-Bristol replaced the Johnson City as the MSA with the highest average private sector wage in the Tri-Cities

When compared against the averages for 2008 – the year before the Great Recession hit here – Johnson City’s average wage was higher that it was in Kingsport-Bristol in 11 out of 12 months.  It was a pattern that was in place for several years that was reversed by the recession and the recovery in the Johnson City MSA.

The government sector has helped round-up the all-wages number for the Johnson City MSA. Government jobs have an 8% higher share of all jobs in the Johnson City MSA than they do in Kingsport-Bristol.

The quarterly census of wages by counties for all employees shows the Q2 Kingsport-Bristol weekly wage as $797, up $3 from Q2 2014 and $20 a week better than it was in 2008.

The Q2 wage in Washington County is listed at $720, up $20 from 2014 and $85 a week better than it was in 2008.


The average hours worked increased in Johnson City last month while it declined in Kingsport-Bristol

December’s average in Kingsport-Bristol was 36.4 hours, down from 36.5 December last year and from 36.4 in November.

In Johnson City it was 34.3 hours compared to 34.2 the same month last year and 34.2 hours a week in November.

When compared to a pre-recession benchmark Kingsport-Bristol private sector workers worked an average of 2.5 hours a week more. Johnson City workers were also working a longer week, but only by 0.5 hours.


The annual median salary for a full-time man in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA in 2014 was $41,874. The median wage for a woman working full-time there was $31,453. The median for all workers was $26,142.  October’s average annualized private sector was is $33,488.

In the Johnson City MSA the median 2014 wage for a man working full-time was $36,916. For a woman working full-time it was $30,594. The median for all of that MSA’s workers was $24,705. October’s annualized average private sector wage is $31,564.


Jackson replaced Johnson City as the MSA with the lowest private sector wage in December. Johnson City MSA was next to the lowest.

Johnson City and Jackson are usually the last two MSAs in the ranking.

Morristown has the highest wage among the smaller MSA in East Tennessee while Knoxville had the highest average wage in the state last month.


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