Johnson City Tri-Cities top labor market June performer

The Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report has an adjusted and unadjusted version. June was one of those months you want to pay attention to the adjusted numbers. The seasonally adjusted number smooths out the volatility in the monthly churn of jobs added and jobs lost. Last month was no exception. Local employers added 1,100 new jobs when the numbers are adjusted. The seasonal loss on the non-adjusted report is 18,000 jobs.

The report that covers the employment and labor forces isn’t seasonally adjusted, so the month-to-month data reflects the seasonal volatility. That’s why the better trend picture is year-over-year comparisons.

From a regional perspective, the Tri-Cities employment picture was pretty good. The unemployment rate was 4.1%.

The people with jobs were up by 5,443 people, and the labor force was 3,780 stronger than last year. Recovery to pre-pandemic numbers is another matter. Employment was down by 1,398 people, and the labor force was down by 1,440.

A drill-down to the city level shows labor markets where growth and recovery to pre-pandemic levels are not evenly dispersed.

Johnson City’s labor market continues to outperform the others in employment and labor force growth. At the same time, it ranks second to Bristol, TN, in the most current population growth estimates. However, when the Bristol’s data is combined for a Twin Cities perspective Bristol TN’s population grain is lowered by Bristol VA’s loss. Population is an issue because the region continues to experience an influx of new residents and the labor force data is one of the indicators of how those new residents are affecting the labor market.

Here’s how the percent growth for the April 2020 to July 2021 population growth looks:

  • Bristol, TN, up 1.3%
  • Bristol, VA, down 1%
  • Johnson City up 1%
  • Kingsport up 0.2%

This drill-down is also a good place to highlight the difference between jobs and employment. The jobs report counts everyone getting a paycheck in which metro area. The employment report focuses on whether a person has a job or is looking for work, not where the job is located. In other words, a person living in Bristol but working in Kingsport is considered Bristol employment.

Here’s how the June local city labor markets looked:

Twin Cities (Bristol TN-VA)

Unemployment rate 4.1%

Number of people employed – 18,227, up 937 from last year and down 341 from the pre-pandemic benchmark.

Labor force – 19,001, up 104 from last year, 391 below the pre-pandemic benchmark.

Johnson City

Unemployment rate 4.2%

Employment – 31,214 up 981 from last year and 822 more than the pre-pandemic benchmark.

Labor force – 35,487, up 108 from last year and up 906 from the pre-pandemic benchmark.


Unemployment rate is 4.6%

Employment – 129, 595, up 366 from last year and down 741 from the pre-pandemic benchmark.

Labor force – 135,169, up 141 from last year and down 727 from the pre-pandemic benchmark.

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Categories: LABOR MARKET