Tri-Cities private sector wages on the upswing in March

The Tri-Cities’ economy got a double dose of good news in March.

Employment and the average private wage continued trending higher.

March wage

March employment, private sector wage report card

The news was especially good for the Johnson City metro area. Preliminary, non-seasonally adjusted wages increased at a higher rate than employment. Kingsport-Bristol’s increase was slightly below its employment increase.

March was the 11th straight month the year-over-year weekly average wage has increased in the Johnson City metro area.  That positive trend followed 35 months of decline. The private sector wage hit is balanced by the metro area’s total wages is considered.

The March average in Johnson City was $615 a week, up $23 from March last year.

Kingsport-Bristol’s average was $655 up $17 a week from last year.

Adjusted for inflation against a March 2008 pre-recession benchmark, Johnson City metro private sector workers has $41 a month less buying power while Kingsport-Bristol workers saw their buying power increase $27 a week.

Tri-Cities private sector wages ranked at the bottom of comparisons for other metro areas in East Tennessee and across the state.

The private sector wage is the only monthly salary metric, but it doesn’t tell the full story.  The BLS’s quarterly survey of county wages is a good counterbalance to the private sector month wage.


Here’s what the most recent quarterly total  wage, the year-over-year change and buying power after adjustment for inflations against the pre-recession benchmark is for the counties that make up the Tri-Cities’ two MSA’s



Sullivan Co. – $861, up 3.4% Buying power up $28

Hawkins Co. – $709, up 5.5% Buying power up $33

Scott Co. VA – $598, down 0.3% Buying power down $16

Washington Co. VA. – $670, down 0.1%  Buying power down $8



Washington Co. – $733, up 1.8% Buying power up $46

Carter Co. – $594, up 5.3% Buying power up $9

Unicoi Co. –  $771, down 0.3% Buying power up $48





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