Job creation in the Tri-Cities is back on track, facing challenges

Home LABOR MARKET Job creation in the Tri-Cities is back on track, facing challenges

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The Tri-Cities unemployment rate in September fell to what it was before the pandemic, and the economy created 600 jobs. Unemployment claims were also down. This is the good news. At the same time, data mining highlights some challenges and illustrates how the local labor market and economy are recovering to a new normal.

Here are the numbers for September:

  • 600 new seasonally adjusted jobs were added.
  • The average monthly rate of job gains is 278.
  • So far this year, the economy has created 2,500 new jobs.
  • Total jobs are 3,500 seasonally adjusted jobs below what they were in 2019 – the pre-pandemic year when the local labor market was almost recovering from losses from the Great Recession.
  • The current unemployment rate is 3.4%, down 3% from September last year and the same as in September 2019.
  • There were 214,478 people employed, up 104 from August, down 6,276 from last year and 6,285 fewer than in September 2019.
  • The September labor force was 222,450, down 1,473 from August, 6,276 from a year ago and 6,518 from September 2019.
  • There were 7,472 people registered as unemployed, down 1,577 from August, down almost half from last year and 550 fewer than the pre-pandemic year.
  • There were 9,383 jobs posted on Jobs4TN, up 197 from August. Open jobs have been in the order of 9,000 since July. They were at a low of 2,240 in April.
  • Ballad Health and Food City continue to have the most open jobs. Jobs4TN’s most recent monitor shows Ballad advertising for 1,054 workers. Food City is looking for 327 new employees.

Month-to-month non-farm job creation and loss. Preliminary unadjusted data from Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wages, working conditions and fear of COVID are listed as some of the drivers of the labor shortage and the increase in the number of people leaving their jobs.

Harvard’s Opportunity Insights reported that as of Aug. 10, high-paying employment ($ 60,000 and over) in Sullivan County was up 7.6%. Employment in low-wage jobs ($ 29,000 and less) is down 5.9%. This illustrates how some in the current recovery are doing very well while others do not share the recovery. Reports for other local counties were not available on the Opportunity Insights website at the time of writing.

According to an MIT study, the minimum living wage for a single person in Sullivan Co. is $ 22,568. It’s based on a 35 hour work week. For a family with one child and two working adults, it’s $ 25,480 based on a 35-hour work week.

The current quarterly census of employment and wages estimates the average weekly wage in the private sector to be $ 27.14 per hour.

According to Bowtie economist Elliot Eisenberg, low-paying positions, mostly in person, accounted for the largest number of workers who quit last month. Bowtie track that stops. Its current report indicates that the departures were caused by workers leaving accommodation and food services. The dropout rate for this industry is 6.8%, which is double the average rate for all industries. Retail was also at a high level, according to a Business Insider report, with a 4.7% dropout rate. The overall dropout rate for Tennessee was 4.3%.

Am Indeed’s analysis of the sites job seekers click on is increasingly interested in IT and media jobs, “but nobody wants to fill the jobs of sorely needed children and home care “.

Indeed, a company that tracks job seekers, also said that interest in civil engineering and IT operations jobs has grown more than any other category since the pre-pandemic era. Posts for both types of jobs generate 59% more clicks compared to February 2020.

Jobs in media and communications increased by 48%. And only 37% of the jobs advertised can be done from home.

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