Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sevier County Economic Update

Sevier County has backed off from the healthy job growth it experienced in2015. Nonfarm job totals seem to be treading water with only marginal improvement. Although some industries have made employment strides, others have shed jobs. Slower job growth coordinates with an uptick in unemployment during spring and early summer (which has since abated). First-time claims for unemployment insurance currently show no sign of unusual economic distress. On the other hand, a dip in gross taxable sales combines with slower job growth to suggest the economy could use some revitalization.

  • After a brief dip into negative territory in May, Sevier County’s June 2016 nonfarm jobs total edged up by a little more than 1 percent (up about 110 jobs). 
  • Healthcare/social services made the largest employment contributions with help from mining, construction and the public sector. 
  • However, trade, information, leisure/hospitality services and other services all took notable job hits. 
  • After a brief uptick between March and June, Sevier County's unemployment rate has slipped back down to more normal levels. 
  • Joblessness measured 4.3 percent in August 2016, slightly higher than the statewide average, but below the national rate. 
  • In the first ten months 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. 
  • The county’s average monthly wage continued to show some improvement. 
  • Between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016 Sevier County’s average monthly wage expanded by almost 3 percent. 
  • Gross taxable sales dipped slightly (down about 1 percentage point) between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • Despite strong sales growth at building/garden stores and food stores, a decrease in business investment expenditures and car sales put a drag on the overall sales totals.