Tri-Cities labor market trend remains positive, but with soft spots

The national media is busy slicing and dicing May’s labor market report.  There’s a malaise about the economic outlook driven by May’s weak job creation report and indecision rooted in the upcoming presidential elections.

Locally, we’re a little over three weeks away from May’s data releases. So far this year local conditions have fallen in step with the national recovery trend and are very positive.

A capsule of those conditions was included in my report on the Sunday Money Page of the Kingsport Times-News. The full report can be found in two reports at the CoreData Web site.


Tri-Cities employers continue adding jobs in April; unemployment rates at pre-recession levels

April Tri-Cities wages continue growing at faster pace than job creations 


Another way to stay in touch with how the labor market is performing is with the MTU’s heat charts.  The charts track the year-over-year performance of the market’s 12 job sectors in Tri-Cities’ two metro markets.

April’s chart shows the sectors trend is basically unchanged from March.


Non-farm jobs are up, and six sectors are showing growth. The largest gainer is retail trade, which has been growing for the past five months. The second strongest performance is in the leisure and hospitality sector, followed by transportation and utilities, education and health services then professional and business services.

Manufacturing showed the big year-over-year hit in April followed closely the by government sector.

Information was the hardest hit sector. It has been down 20% for three straight months.


Non-farm job growth is on a positive – but uneven –  year-over-year trend.

Half of the market’s 12 job sectors were positive in April. Retail trade saw the largest increase. Mining, logging and construction making made its second monthly strong gain. That and gains in the education and health services, professional services and government sectors account for the increase private sector wage growth in the area.

The only sector in the red was transportation and utilities. It was down 22.2% from April last year and the fourth straight month that sector has posted double-digit losses.

The May state labor market report is due on the 16th of the month followed by the city and county reports on June 23.

The heat charts can be found at:



 Johnson City metro 





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