Look at any of the roads around Kingsport on any weekday morning or afternoon, and it’s immediately apparent there’s a lot of commuting going on out there. For this report, we’ll drill down on Kingsport. A similar report on Johnson City will follow in the coming weeks.
According to the Census Bureau, there’s a total of 40,321 jobs in Kingsport.
Only 23.8% of those jobs are filled by workers who live in Kingsport. And the biggest share of those workers who commute to Kingsport is not from Johnson City or the other cities and town high on the list. The biggest share – 54.6% – hail from “all other locations.”
Throw a wider net on the data, and it shows some of those “all other locations” workers come from places like the 328 from North Carolina or 91 Georgians. Virginia’s count totals 3,655, but a bunch of those folks shows up in the city and county courts.
Some other examples:
Kentucky – 61.
South Carolinian – 59.
Mississippi – 43.
West Va. – 27.
Pennsylvania – 24.
Ohio – 21.
And there are another 154 from “all other locations.”
While those are gee-wiz examples, they’re not what gets the most attention.
What’s the local mix and where do the largest share come from is the biggie?
Johnson City is the obvious city, but the share is not as much as some think. Mount Carmel and Church Hill make up almost as many Kingsport bound workers, and when you throw Bloomingdale into the mix, Johnson City isn’t a contender.
Backing off to the big picture there are not many exceptions to what you would guess about the age, income and type job commuters have as opposed to those who live and work in Kingsport.
The exceptions are shares in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities job sector. The commuters account for 23.2% (7,114 workers) of those jobs in Kingsport.
Workers who live and work in Kingsport account for the largest share of those in the 55 and older age group, 24.3% (2,335 workers) and those who earn $1,250 per month or less, 26.7% (2,558 workers.)
The other age group that shows a slight difference is the larger commuter share of workers who are 29 or younger. They account for 21.7% (6,659 workers) of that age group compared to 21.5% (2,065 workers) who live and work in Kingsport.
Remember how this report started with a look at the roads during commute time? Well, you don’t have to look very long to see that the area’s commuter pattern has outstripped its infrastructure.
Interstate 26 is crowded and a real mess when there’s a wreck.
But that’s nothing compared to Highway 11W where the traffic closest to the Hawkins-Sullivan county line equal or exceed what you find on the Interstate.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s most current average daily traffic counts shows there are 33,468 vehicles on 11W between University Dr. and Lewis Ln. Compare that to 28,415 at the station at N. Eastman Rd. and 11W. And when there’s a wreck on 11W traffic – and driver frustrations – are a real mess.
Data for this report comes from the Census Bureau On The Map labor market functions and the Tennessee Department of Transportations traffic counts for 2016. The On The Map data is from 2015.