Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sevier County Economic Update

After a strong end-of-year performance, Sevier County’s economy stepped back a notch in the first few months of 2016. The county continued to create new employment, but the rate of employment proved notably slower than just a quarter earlier. Nevertheless, the area hasn’t experienced employment contraction since 2013. As job growth waned, unemployment edged up. Although joblessness has risen slightly, it remains relatively low and first-time claims for unemployment insurance are running at a seasonal level. Following employment’s lead, gross taxable sales expanded but at a rather tepid rate. In general, the economy is improving, but at a lukewarm rather than scorching speed.

  • Nonfarm jobs in Sevier County grew by 1.2 percent between the March 2015 and March 2016, reflecting the addition of about 100 jobs. 
  • Healthcare/social services made the largest employment contribution followed by construction and government. 
  • While several industries contracted, the only job loss of note occurred in the tourism-driven leisure/hospitality services industry. 
  • Sevier County’s unemployment rate has increased 0.6 percentage points since the beginning of the year. 
  • Joblessness measured 4.8 percent in June 2016, below the statewide average and roughly equal to the national figure. 
  • In the first half of 2016, first-time claims for unemployment insurance followed a traditional seasonal pattern with no signs of unusual stress. 
  • So far this year, construction, retail trade and private education/healthcare/social services have generated the most claims activity. 
  • Despite decelerating job growth, Sevier County’s average monthly nonfarm wage continues to trend upward. 
  • Between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage increased by more than 3 percent. 
  • Current construction data is not available for Sevier County. 
  • Gross taxable sales increased by a lackluster 1.4 percent between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • General merchandise stores showed the strongest sales improvement. In addition, business investment expenditures rose nicely. 
  • On the downside, wholesale trade sales dipped noticeably.