Tri-Cities sales tax collections show mixed 2019 performance

Northeast Tennessee’s state sales tax collections closed 2019 with a 5.2% increase over last year with the Knoxville MSA claiming the lion’s share of the increase.

Annual seasonally adjusted state sales tax collections

Results for the Tri-Cities two metro areas’ year-end results were mixed.

The Johnson City MSA’s annual collections were 3.1% better than 2018, while Kingsport-Bristol saw a 0.3% decrease.

December’s MTSU Economic Research Center’s seasonally adjusted report for the state’s 10 MSAs shows Knoxville had the second-best increase over December last year. Jackson led the state with a 34.1% increase over December last year. Only Jackson and Knoxville had double-digit increases on the year-over-year metric.

Here’s how the Tri-Cities metro area’s looked compared to December 2018 collections:

Knoxville, up 12.9%.

Johnson City, up 6.2%.

Morristown, up 1.5%.

Kingsport-Bristol, up 0.8%.

Tennessee’s December collections were 3.7% better than in 2018.

Kingsport-Bristol’s December collections were the best in NE Tenn. when compared to November. And it was one of only four metro areas that had an increase in that metric.

Kingsport-Bristol, up 3.3%

Morristown, down 0.9%.

Johnson City, down 1.1%.

Knoxville, down 1.9%.

Statewide collections were down 0.7% on the month-over-month metric.

Kingsport-Bristol’s collections have been the most volatile of all the NE Tenn. metro areas. In 2018 collections were up 3.8% and 0.1% off Knoxville’s annual performance.  But instead of arching higher in 2019 as collections did in the region’s three other metro areas, Kingsport-Bristol declined. The pattern for Kingsport-Bristol’s collections since 2010 has been to reach an annual high then decline for the next two years.

Both Johnson City and Kingsport-Bristol have steadily lost market share when NE Tenn. collections are calculated.

Johnson City’s market share of NE Tenn. nonadjusted collections was 14.3% in 2010 and has declined to 12.9% in 2019.

Kingsport-Bristol 2010 market share was 14.4% and 13.4% in 2019.

Morristown’s market share of 7.6% of the region’s total collections was unchanged from 2010.

State sales tax collections for East Tennessee’s three Consolidated Statistical Areas

Knoxville’s 2019 market share has increased to 66.2% compared to 63.7% in 2010. It has risen steadily every year.

When compared on a Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) basis, Knoxville-Morristown, Chattanooga-Cleveland, and Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol have seen annual increases since 2010. However, the Tri-Cities overall collections performance has significantly lagged the other regions in all but one year since 2017.

Here’s what those region’s annual growth rate looked for those three years.


2017, up 1.5%

2018, up 3.7%

2019, up 7.2%


2017, up 4.7%

2018, up 2.4%

2019, up 4.2%

Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol

2017, up 0.5%

2018, up 2.8%

2019, up 1.5%

Categories: ECONOMY