By DON FENLEY
Washington Co. attracted 491 new residents during the first half of this year. There were some variations in which communities those residents settled, but the overall pattern is basically unchanged.
Most (52%) are now Johnson City resident. Next in line is Jonesborough (18%). The share drops into single digits after that.
And no, despite what you hear, West Coasters and New Yorkers did not dominate the mid-year tally. In fact, most of the transplants are from the South. Here’s a rundown on the top six donor states:
- Florida – 15%
- North Carolina – 14%
- Virginia – 13%
- California – 8%
- Georgia – 4%
- South Carolina – 4%
The numbers also contradict the often-heard observation that most of the newcomers are retirees. The typical retirement age group accounts for 24% of the newbies. The largest share of new residents by age group was 25-35. The breakdown by age was:
- 75 plus – 5%
- 65-75 – 19%
- 55-65 – 14%
- 45-55 – 14%
- 35-45 – 14%
- 25-35 – 22%
- 25 and under – 14%
Several studies report that the relocation wave spurred by the pandemic is waning. But most of that is occurring the suburan-major metro areas. Relocation to secondary and rural metro areas – like the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area – continues to thrive. Washington Co.’s numbers for the first half of this year are slightly higher than they have averaged since the pandemic. Chamber of Commerce Manger Bob Cantler says the only thing that he sees holding back growth is the low housing inventory and lack of starter homes.
This year’s mid-year migration count came at about the same time as the 1-year American Community Service (ACS) update. A comparison with the 2019 pre-pandemic ACS data better defines how the pandemic’s affect.
Population is almost always the first benchmark. The 2022 estimate is 71,444. That’s a 5.3% increase from the pre-pandemic number and an average 1.3% per-year rate. Almost as important is the population of those 16 and over. The most current number shows the number of residents that could be in the labor force has grown by 2,868 people and 2,767 of them are in the labor force.
Some employment sectors have not recovered from pre-pandemic levels, while others have made notable gains. The best gains were made in:
- Retail trade, up 80%
- Finance, insurance, and real estate – up 53%
- Manufacturing – up 53%
Sectors with the biggest losses are:
- Professional, scientific, managements, waste management services – down 56%
- Public administration – down 39%
- Information – down 31%
The number of private wage and salary workers accounts for 81% of the Johnson City civilian employment. Their ranks have increased by 13% since the pandemic.
Government workers account for 14% of the workers and their number has declined 13% since the pandemic.
Another hot-button topic is how many city residents are working from home. The total has increased 107% to 3,908.
Median household income has also improved since the year before the pandemic. It’s currently at $55,228, which is 29% higher than it was in 2019. The median income is the middle point for households. Half had an income more than the median and half had less.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator, the 2022 Johnson City median household income was a gain of $4,766 in buying power from its pre-pandemic level.
The median family household income’s three-year increase was higher high as the household median. It increased to $85,525, up 15%. The average family household income is $121,732. It’s up 16% from the pre-pandemic level.
Drilling down the median earnings for full-time all workers, male and female workers, shows improvements, but the ranges are varied.
- Median earnings for full-time workers – $30,389, up 16%
- Median earnings for male full-time workers – $51,036, up 45%
- Median earnings for female full-time workers – $$40,169, up 6%
- Per capita income increased 18% to $38,524.