Tri-Cities jobs market inching toward recovery status – wage progress mixed

There were 550 more nonfarm jobs in October than in September, and there were 1,397 move people employed.  The seven-county region’s unemployment rate of 3.3% was unchanged from September because the labor force increased proportionally to the number of employed people.

October was the seventh straight month the employment and job trend has increased. The labor force trend has been positive every month since March. At its current pace, 2019 will be the year the Tri-Cities region reaches the pre-recession nonfarm jobs benchmark – recovery from the recession.

Compared to October last year there were 2,900 more jobs, and 7,402 more people were employed.

Job gains and losses

Labor sectors showing job gains were Financial Activities; Professional and Business Services; Education and Health Services; and Leisure and Hospitality.

12-month moving averages for primary labor market metrics

Two sectors reported a loss of jobs from September’s total. There were Other Services and Government.

So far this year, the strongest job growth come in the Kingsport-Bristol Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) was in the Professional and Business Services and Leisure and Hospitality sectors.

The Johnson City MSA’s strongest growth sectors so far this year is Leisure and Hospitality and Other Services. The Government and Manufacturing sectors are also posting job increases on the 12-month percent change metric.

Kingsport-Bristol sectors showing job losses this year include Construction; Manufacturing; Trade, Transportation and Utilities; and Information.

Johnson City MSA sectors with a 12-month percent change job loss are Construction; Trade, Transportation and Utilities; and Financial Activities.

More jobs shift toward service sector

The balance between goods-producing and service-providing jobs continued moving toward the service sector across the seven-county region last month.

There were 170,000 service-providing jobs, up 3,400 from October last year – a 2% increase.

The number of goods-producing jobs totaled 37,400 last month. That’s 500 fewer than October last year, a decrease of 1.3%.


The not-inflation-adjusted weekly average private-sector pay ($623) in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA was down 2.5% from the Oct. 2018 avg.  The average number of weekly hours worked was 33.8 down from 35 last year.

In the Johnson City MSA average last month was $668, down 4.7% from last year. The average workweek was 35.6 hours up from 34.7 last year.

This non-adjusted October average is the base wage. It does not include overtime or bonuses. The more accurate report is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages – QCEW. It’s more accurate because the BLS waits for all the data to come in, so the report lags by about six months.

The most current data is for Q1. Here’s what the averages for total employees covered, federal, state, and local government employees and the private sector.

Johnson City MSA

Total covered $772, up from $763.

Federal employees – $1,335 up from $1307.

State employees – $972, up from $949.

Local gov. employees – $675, up from $660

Private sector employees – $744, up from $738

Kingsport-Bristol MSA

Total covered – $859 down from $882

Federal employees – $1,213, up from $1,265

State employees – $865, up from $806

Local gov. employees – $680, up from $672

Private sector employees, $879, down from $908

Data sources: October’s BLS jobs and household reports and the quarterly census of employment and wages.

Categories: LABOR MARKET

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