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Tri-Cities labor market slogs through August with disappointing gains

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Employers added 1,300 jobs in August. The unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent.

That’s the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Tri-Cities tally on the non-adjusted payroll report and the household employment report. When the seasonal adjustment is applied, the report shows a loss of 300 jobs. The seasonal adjustment smooths out the big monthly swings in job gains and losses for a more stable trend outlook. It was the second straight negative adjusted jobs number. The region continues struggling through a lackluster summer season and a job creation growth rate that has not performed to seasonal norms.

August’s reports came in the wake of another disappointing U.S. jobs report and downgrades on the nation’s economic growth. Economic tension is also building over the brinksmanship in Washington.  Local employers remain firmly in the grasp of a labor shortage. They are struggling to fill positions, especially in health care and many lower-paying jobs in the Leisure and Hospitality, and Retail sectors.

The new jobs in the nonadjusted report came as schools geared up and students headed back to class. The other labor sectors were flat. Manufacturing, Professional and Services, and Education and Health Services added 100 jobs each. At the same time, retailers cut 300, and Leisure and Hospitality had 100 fewer jobs than July.

August’s average monthly job growth rate dropped to 238. Currently, the market has 4,500 fewer jobs than its pre-pandemic level.

According to the Jobs4TN website, there were 9,186 jobs open in the seven-county Tri-Cities area in September.

JOHNSON CITY MSA

There were 3,523 open jobs in the Johnson City metro area. The top employers looking for workers and number of open job sere:

Ballad Health – 372

Food City – 108

East Tennessee State University – 92

Not Available – 62

Anders Group – 41

The average workweek for private-sector workers in the Johnson City metro area was 32.6 hours last month. This time last year, it was 33.6 hours. The average weekly salary was $634, down from $646 last year.

The monthly private-sector wage and hours report does not include overtime and bonuses. Nor does it include the pay of government employees. National wide employers have been increasing overtime to make up for the labor shortage.

The most current Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages report on local average wages in the Johnson City metro area is:

Total covered – $836

Federal employees – $1,384

State employees – $1,076

Local government employees – $736

Private sector employees – $804

Carter, Washington, and Unicoi counties make up the Johnson City MSA.

KINGSPORT-BRISTOL MSA

Open jobs in the four-county metro area total 5,663 in late September. The top five firms and the number of jobs they have open were:

Ballad Health – 597

Food City – 229

Eastman Chemical Co. – 200

McDonald. Corp. – 172

Not Available – 81

The average private-sector workweek in Kingsport-Bristol was 35.7 hours, down from 36.2 hours in July. Theverage private sector weekly wage was $729, up from $699 last year.

The most current Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages report on local average  weekly wages in the Kingsport-Bristol MSA are:

Total Covered – $938

Federal employees – $1,302

State employees – $929

Local government employees – $743

Private sector employees – $950

Hawkins and Sullivan counties in NE Tenn. and Scott and Washington counties in SW Va. make up the Kingsport-Bristol MSA.

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Categories: LABOR MARKET

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