Tri-Cities jobs, avg. private sector wage continue trending higher in June

Once you get past the month-over-month fluctuation and the temporary/seasonal layoffs, June was a good month on the Tri-Cities nonfarm jobs front.

1 canstockphoto10697974There were 2,000 more jobs last month than June last year. That’s the slowest growth rate so far this year, but it was also the 15th straight month of jobs growth. Those are the preliminary, not adjusted numbers from the June Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey. They include a 0.5% downward adjustment in May’s preliminary data for the Johnson City metro area and a 0.08% lower adjustment for Kingsport-Bristol.

Compared to June 2008 pre-recession benchmark, the region is down 3,400 jobs.

A better trend view of the job picture is offered by a three-month moving average. It takes much of the noise out of the numbers and is like having a quarterly report every month. That trend line shows the year-over-year change peaked in March at 1.9% then began arching downward. June’s increase was 1.4%.

Look at charting of the moving average and you can clearly see the jobs picture is on a positive trend footing.

JOHNSON CITY METRO

On the metro area level, June’s report shows the Johnson City area has maintained a stronger growth pace than Kingsport-Bristol since April. In June the gain was 1.2% (900 more jobs than June last year). The growth rate has been above 1% for 12 months in this three-county region.

A good way to get a handle on the ebb and flow of job sectors is with MTSU’s heat charts.


Johnson City Metro heat chart 


jUNE 3 MO MOVING AVG

CLICKING ON IMAGE RENDERS A LARGER VERSION

The June chart shows growth in half of the labor sectors. It’s also noteworthy that growth is occurring in the Manufacturing and Professional and Business Service sectors. Those sectors are generally recognized for providing higher quality jobs. The Retail Trade and Leisure and Hospitality sectors are also seeing solid growth.

Information remains the biggest loss sector. It’s year-over-year tracking shows the decline has been in double digits for six months with no growth during the past 12 months.

Another thing to watch is Construction. It posted a loss in June after three solid months of growth.

KINGSPORT-BRISTOL

June’s year-over-year growth rate dropped to 0.9% in June (1,100 more jobs than June last year.) It was the weakest showing so far this year. June was also the 10th straight month of year-over-year job growth that has ranged from 0.4% to 2.4%.


Kingsport-Bristol heat chart


June’s heart chart shows growth in seven sectors. The high points come in the Construction; Transportation and Utilities; Professional and Business Services; and Education and Health Service sectors.

June jc pay v. jobs

CLICKING ON CHART RENDERS A LARGER VERSION

The Information sector has been in the red with double-digit losses since February.

Manufacturing also posted its fifth straight month of decline. The best this sector has managed is two months that flat. The rest of the time it has seen year-over-year losses.

PRIVATE SECTOR WAGES

Growth rates for June’s average private sector wage slowed in both Tri-Cities metro areas but remained on a positive trend footing.

Both Tri-Cities metro areas also consistently report a lower weekly average wage that other East Tennessee metro areas and are at the bottom of the rankings statewide.  The Johnson City metro area has been at the bottom or next to last of the rankings for the past two years.

JOHNSON CITY METRO

June’s average weekly private-sector wage was $609, up from $611 last year.  It was the 11th straight month it has been better than the same month of the previous year as the region has slowly reversed a down trend that lasted for 36 months.

The not-so-good news is June’s wage was the lowest among all metro areas in Tennessee, and when adjusted for inflation it gave workers $59 a week less buying power.

June was also the first time in six months that the growth rate for the average wage dropped below the nonfarm jobs growth rate.

KINGSPORT-BRISTOL METRO

June KB wage v. jobs

CLICKING ON CHART RENDERS A LARGER VERSION

June’s average was $657 compared to $648 June last year. It was also the 23 consecutive year-over-year monthly increase and when adjusted for inflation afforded $9 a week additional buying power.

June was the third straight month the average wage growth rate has been higher than the nonfarm job growth rate.

Kingsport-Bristol had the fourth lowest average weekly wage among other state metro areas.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

I’ve saved the worst for the last. Not necessarily because the numbers are bad, but because they’re based on the Household survey. It’s the smaller of the two labor market surveys and the least reliable labor market metric. ETSU Economist and Bureau of Business and Economic Research has called the local unemployment reports the most worthless piece of data produced by the Federal Government. Steb has retired from both positions but maintains labor market and sales reports on an interim basis. He urges anyone who needs a better measure of the labor market to use the jobs data from the Payroll Report. With that caveat here’s what June’s unemployment numbers look like:

TRI-CITIES – 5.5%, up 1.3%

JOHNSON CITY METRO – 5.6%, up 1.4%

KINGSPORT-BRISTOL METRO – 5.4%, up 1.2%

BRISTOL, TN – 6.4%, up 1.7%

JOHNSON CITY – 5.4%, up 1.4%

KINGSPORT – 5.5%, up 1.2%

 

Kingsport-Bristol has second highest June sales tax collection gain in state; Johnson City posts biggest decline

Kingsport-Bristol was back on the retail sales tax collections roller coaster in June.

The metro area’s year-over-year collections for the month were the second highest in the state – a little less than half the gain in the Nashville metro area.

June sales taxAt the same time, the seasonally adjusted data from MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center shows collections in the Johnson City metro were the down 4.7% – the largest decline among state metro areas.

Collection dollar amounts for both metro areas has been positive for the 12 months ending in June, with one exception in Kingsport-Bristol, while the trend patterns are showing increasing year-over-year comparisons volatility.

For over a year Kingsport-Bristol has seen year-over-year changes that were the among the highest in the state followed by equally steep declines the following months.  The year-over-year increases range from double-digit gains in July, October and March to a minus 0.8% in February.

Johnson City’s pattern has been less volatile.  It trended lower for eight straight months then posted a sharp increase in March followed by a steep drop in April then another big pattern decline in June.

The share between the two metro areas has been fairly consistent since June last year with Johnson City accounting for just under half of the collections. The low came in November with a 47.9% share to April’s 49.8% share.

Here’s how the year-over-year change looked for Northeast Tennessee metro areas:

Kingsport-Bristol, up 1.5%.

Knoxville, up 0.1%.

Morristown, down 1.2%.

Johnson City, down 4.7%.

Statewide collections were up 1.3%, but only half of the metro areas were positive when compared to June last year.

The month-over-month collections were down in all but the Cleveland metro area.

Johnson City’s collections were off 6.3% from May while Kingsport-Bristol was down 4.4%.

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Great Recession remodeled Johnson City metro area’s business landscape

During the first examination of the Census Bureau’s Tri-Cities business patterns report, we established that region lost 635 firms in the 2007-2014 study period. Retail establishments and construction firms took the hardest hit. That was constant for both the Kingsport-Bristol and Johnson City metro areas.


Part 1 Tri-Cities business pattern overview 

Part 2 – Kingsport-Bristol 


In many ways, the Johnson City metro area suffered more from the recession than Kingsport-Bristol. Before the recession, it had the highest average private sector wage. But after over two years of private sector wage contraction, it dropped behind Kingsport-Bristol. And –  as more often not – ranked as the metro area with the lowest average private sector wage in the state.

The contradiction is Johnson City’s economy remains more vibrant than the rest of the region – at least on the surface. Compared to its pre-recession high, the metro area’s real GDP is down 0.4% from the pre-recession high. But its housing markets – both resale and new home construction – leads the region.  It also maintains its position in overall retail sales and consistently accounts for nearly half of the regional’s retail sales tax collections.

The Census Bureau’s Business Pattern study shows seven Johnson City metro business categories grew during the 2007-2014 study period. Here’s the third part of that study’s examination focusing on a total number of employees and annual payroll.

It’s a pattern story that shows not only what business sectors prospered and those that loss but is the beginning of a new benchmark for what the post-recession economy looks like.

The same caveat from the first report stands for this report. Since the study period ended in 2014, it misses the growth of 2015, which was the region’s best business economy in years, and some strong performance by the Johnson City metro economy. The sectors are ranked by those that grew the most during the study period followed those with the most total establishment losses. Spoiler alert: just because the number of establishment declined doesn’t necessarily mean that sector’s share of employees or payroll growth also declined.

JOHNSON CITY METRO

The metro area lost 191 businesses during the recession. Total annual payroll was up 13.5%, so when adjusted for inflation workers saw a 1.2% buying power loss.

HEALTH CARE and SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

Health care is one of the metro area’s core industry, and it prospered during the recovery period. All three benchmarks were positive, and the annual payroll increase stood head and shoulders above the other sector. The number of establishments grew by 31 during the study period, and the number of employees increased by 2,761. The sector’s annual payroll also increased by 60.1%.

 ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICES

Although this sector doesn’t provide the highest quality jobs, the number and variety of food services outlets is prized by the area culture.

The number of establishments increased by 23, but total employment was down by 531. The total annual payroll was up 16.4% from the 2007 baseline so the buying power growth during the seven-year period was 2.2%.

 INDUSTRIES NOT CLASSIFIED

The Census Bureau doesn’t offer much insight in this category. It lists an increase of seven establishments. But the total number of employees and annual payroll data was not listed.

EDUCATION SERVICES

This is another core sector and like health care grew across all benchmarks. Total number of establishments increased by five, the number of employees increased by 194 and the annual payroll was up 33.4%.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Although the total number of firms in this sector increased by two during the recovery, the number of employees declined by 864. Only two other sectors saw larger employee losses. It’s also not surprising that the sector’s total annual payroll took a 14.9% hit when you consider the number of workers who lost their jobs.

 UTILITIES

This is another category where the Census Business Pattern Study doesn’t offer a lot of information. The number of establishments is up by one, but no employee or annual payroll benchmarks are listed.

REAL ESTATE and RENTAL and LEASING

The Johnson City metro’s housing market – both resale, new residential and multi-family consistently outperformed the rest of the region during the recovery from the Great Recession. But with that performance aside, there was only one new firm during the recovery and the sector lost 397 employees. The annual payroll was up 13.9% – not enough to keep buying power at pre-recession levels after the inflation adjustment.

SECTORS THAT LOST ESTABLISHMENT

Those were the sectors that saw growth in the total number of establishments. The remaining 12 sectors saw their establishment totals decline. It’s noteworthy that the total number of employees in two sectors – Retail Trade; and Arts Entertainment and Recreation – added employees. Administrative Support and Waste Management and Transportation and warehousing also had annual payroll growth that carried its employees past the inflation adjustment to more buying power than they had before the recession.

 CONSTRUCTION

The recession hit construction hard in both Tri-Cities metro areas. By the end of the study period (2014), there were 82 fewer construction firms in the Johnson City metro area with 1,101 fewer employees and a total annual payroll that had declined by 28.6%. Even though the Johnson City metro new home industry is the strongest in the Tri-Cities it’s still operating at only half of its pre-recession capacity. That and a decline in infrastructure development and maintenance has taken a heavy toll.

RETAIL TRADE           

Johnson City’s metro area has maintained its retailing position throughout the recovery. It still accounts for just under half of the retail sales tax collections in the region and claims the lion’s share of retail sales compared to the area’s other cities. But the recession and the increasing competition from on-line shopping has taken a toll. There are 47 fewer retail establishments than there were before the recession. However, the number of employees increased by 261. The payroll benchmark new isn’t as good. Total payroll is down 9.6%.

MANUFACTURING

The recession saw 39 manufacturing firms closed with a loss of 3,580 employees. Total annual payroll is down 14.6%.

OTHER SERVICES (except public administration)

This sector had a loss of 34 establishments and 391 employees. The annual payroll is 6% higher than it was before the recession.

WHOLESALE TRADE

There are 14 fewer establishments in the metro area than before the recession and 186 fewer employees, but the annual payroll for those firms that hung on is up 10.4%.

 ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT AND WASTE MANAGEMENT AN REMEDIATION SERVICES

Here’s another example of fewer firms – down 13 – but more employees – up 86 since the recession. The annual payroll in this sector was 24.2% higher in 2014 than it was in 2007.

 TRANSPORTATION AND WAREHOUSING

This is a classic example of the effect of an economic downturn. There are fewer firms – 9 – fewer employees – down 62 – and a higher annual payroll. Up 17.9%.

 PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERVICES

The recession claimed eight of this sector’s firms with a loss of 1,256 employees. The annual payroll is down 11.2%.

ARTS ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION

There are seven fewer firms, 36 fewer employees, but the annual payroll for the firms that survived is up 5.8%.

INFORMATION

There’s little good news in this section, which included print media and broadcasters, shows across the board losses. There are three fewer establishments, employee loss is down 263, and the annual payroll is down 6.5%. Unlike Kingsport-Bristol the number of Johnson City metro area print establishments TV broadcasters did not close or drop local news programming. The Kingsport Daily News ceased publication, and one WKPT eliminated its local news staff.

 MANAGEMENT OF COMPANIES and ENTERPRISES

The study shows two fewer firms, 100 fewer employees and an annual payroll 9.9% less than it was before the recession.

 

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Kingsport-Bristol economic recovery winners, losers rated by total businesses, employees, annual payroll

During the first examination of the Census Bureau’s Tri-Cities business patterns, we established that region lost 635 firms in the 2007-2014 study period. Retail establishments and construction firms took the hardest hit. But six Kingsport-Bristol business categories grew during the period. Here’s the second part of that study’s examination focusing on a total number of employees and annual payroll.

The same caveat from the first report stands for this report. Since the study period ended in 2014, it misses the growth of 2015, which was the region’s best business economy in years. I’m also breaking this phase into two stories to look at the two metro areas separately. The reason? The gain/loss patterns for individual job categories doesn’t match up, which tends to confuse the big picture.

Spoiler alert: some of the sectors hit by the loss of total establishment added employees and saw some hefty gains in total annual payroll.

KINGSPORT-BRISTOL

The metro area lost 444 businesses during the recession – a 6.9% loss. Total annual payroll was up 13.1%, so when adjusted for inflation workers saw a 1.1% buying power loss.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICES

Accommodation and food services was the growth sector during the recession. It gained 21 new firms, the number of employees increased by almost 115 and the annual payroll was up 23.9%. Using the Bureau of Labor Management’s inflation calculator to make a buying power assessment, workers in the sector saw their buying power increase 9.7%.

INFORMATION

The second best growth in the four-county metro area was posted in the Information sector. It grew by 12 firms, but that’s where the good news stopped. This sector was the focus of deep labor force reductions by media companies – especially newspapers. Broadcast firms also saw staff reduction, and one media outlet suspected its news staff and local news programming. Technology companies picked up some of the slack, but after the churn, the sector is down 221 employees. Total payroll for the sector was up 8.6%, but when adjusted for inflation sector workers as a whole saw the buying power decrease by 5.6%.

 EDUCATION SERVICES

This sector had similar conditions as Information. The number of firms increased by eight, but the sector’s number of employees declined by 74. The good news for workers in this sector is the annual payroll was up 24.5% giving them a 10% increase in buying power.

MINING

Although mining wasn’t the heavy hitter in new establishments, it was a rock star in employee and annual payroll growth. Four new firms brought the metro area’s total of 27. The total number of employees increased by 724 and the annual payroll was 195% higher than it was in 2007.

 

UTILITIES

The sector grew by one firm, but there was a total loss of one employee. That was made up for by an 18.8% annual payroll gain. The inflation adjustment took some of the shine off the pay performance. Buying power was up a little over 4% during the seven-year period.

That ends Kingsport-Bristol growth tab. The remain employment sectors saw a decline in total establishments, but there are some economic and demographic landscape gains when total employees and annual payroll are factored.

RETAIL TRADE

It hard to find a silver lining to the cloud over the Kingsport-Bristol retail sector. It took the hardest hit with a loss of 152 establishments. The total number of employees dropped 1,075, and the annual payroll was down 8.2%.

CONSTRUCTION

Put this sector in the same class as retail. Each benchmark is down. The number of establishments declined by 106, there were 1,465 fewer employees and the annual payroll was down 2.9%.

OTHER SERVICES (except public administration)

This is not is not an employment category that’s high on the public’s radar, but when you look at the job descriptions you’ll see there are some reasonably well-paying jobs) A breakdown on the sector can be found in the first part of the Business Pattern story .

It was the third biggest loser in the establishment study with a loss of 53. The number of employees was down by 732, and the annual payroll had a disproportionate cut of 10.5%.

TRANSPORTATION AND WAREHOUSING

The sector was down 51 establishments, but the firms left standing ramped up by hiring and additional 1,082 employees. The annual payroll was up 49.5%.

MANUFACTURING

The stature of manufacturing in the Kingsport-Bristol metro area began declining long before the Great Recession. Despite some of the political rhetoric, the decline had nothing to do with NAFTA or government controls. New technology was a big driver behind fewer jobs – especially those for the area’s traditional blue-collar workers.  During the business pattern study period, there were 44 fewer manufacturing firms. Total employees were down by 4,136, and the sector’s annual payroll was down 14.6%

 ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT AND WASTE MANAGEMENT AND REMEDIATION SERVICES

The sector had 18 fewer firms at the end of the study period, 2,004 fewer employments but the annual payroll was up 24.2%.

HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

Before the recession, the comment was made that Kingsport-Bristol was changing from a hard-hat economy to a scrubs economy. While that’s true, the recession was hard on health care. There were 17 fewer firms, 144 fewer employees. The firms that were standing after the shakeout saw a total payroll growth of 15.8%. But after the inflation adjustment buying power was up only 1.6%.

WHOLESALE TRADE      

This sector was hammered across all benchmarks. The total establishments were down 15; there were 1,507 fewer employees and the annual payroll was down 23.1%.

PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SERVICES

The recession weeded out 11 firms. But the remaining firms hired an additional 309 employees, and the sector’s total payroll increased 31.4%.

REAL ESTATE, RENTAL, AND LEASING

The sector saw across the board cuts. The total number of firms declined by 11, there were 253 fewer employees and the annual payroll was down 9.6%. This is one sector that you can expect to see some pretty good increases with the 2015 study is completed because with the exception of new home construction 2015 was a solid growth year for the real estate industry.

MANAGEMENT OF COMPANIES AND ENTERPRISES.

The sector had a loss of seven firms but an increase on 198 employees and an annual payroll growth of 41.5%.

AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, FISHING AND HUNTING

There are four fewer firms than there were before the recession and 21 fewer employees in the sector. Payroll data was not available.

ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, AND RECREATION.

Although there were four fewer firms than before the recession the hiring put the sector’s employee total at 82 better than before the recession. The annual payroll was up 12.5%, but the inflation adjustment removed any advance in buying power.

FINANCE AND INSURANCE

This sector is a classic example of downsizing to weather rough economic times. The number of firms declined by two and employees were down 28, but the annual payroll was up 28.2%.

NEXT WEEK THE FOCUS WILL SHIFT TO THE GAINS AND LOSSES IN THE JOHNSON CITY METRO AREA.

 

 

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