Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sevier County Economic Update

The economy improved somewhat in Sevier County during the first quarter of 2014. Jobs slowly expanded and unemployment edged down. In addition, sales made strong gains. Together, these positive economic signs suggest the economy will continue to strengthen in the months ahead.

Sevier County economy continued to dig itself out of the job losses of 2013 as the year began. Between March 2013 and March 2014, jobs grew by a tepid 1.2 percent. However, the rate of expansion does appear to trend upward. On the job-winning side, professional/business services, retail trade, construction, manufacturing and mining all added significant numbers of new jobs. However, a notable decline in transportation and the public sector counteracted some of the aforementioned gains.

The county’s jobless rate crept ever lower. By July 2014, Sevier County’s unemployment rate measured 4.2 percent, nestled between the state (3.6 percent) and national (6.2 percent) averages.

On the other hand, construction has yet to find its way to the economic light. Recently-released figures for 2013 show an ongoing decline in residential construction and an annual decrease in the nonresidential column. Fortunately, gross taxable sales provide a bright economic indicator with its 12-percent first quarter 2014 year-over increase.