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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