Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sevier County Economic Update

While Sevier County’s employment gains may seem rather humdrum, the gradual gains have persisted for the entire year of 2014. That’s a welcome change from the very scarce job increases of 2013. Employment expansion has spurred joblessness to creep ever lower. Moreover, sales improved nicely and construction permitting is up from 2013. While the county’s economy isn’t ablaze with activity, slow-and-steady improvements may win the long-term race. However, the county’s job gains must spread to most industries before the labor market is considered entirely fit.

  • Year-over job growth in Sevier County measured 71 positions and almost 1 percent in December 2014. 
  • Retail trade, mining and professional/business services created most of the new employment. 
  • On the dark side, both construction and transportation took notable job hits. 
  • Employment gains proved ample enough to keep Sevier County’s unemployment trending downward. 
  • In March 2015, the county’s jobless rate measured only 4.1 percent; a sign the economy is approaching full employment. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance for the first few months of 2015 remained low with construction and professional/business services (which includes “temp” agencies) generating the most new claims. 
  • Gross taxable sales shot up 27 percent between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014. 
  • Extremely large business-investment expenditures can be credited for much of the increase. 
  • Retail trade made healthy gains over the past year. 
  • Fourth quarter 2014 new car and truck sales increased 3 percent compared to sales a year earlier. 
  • Overall, construction permitting values rose 15 percent in 2014. 
  • The majority of the increase in construction permit values can be traced to a large nonresidential addition, alteration and repair project. 
  • Both new nonresidential and new residential permit values dropped dramatically. 
  • In 2014, Sevier County’s population contracted by approximately 70 people as the result of net out-migration.