The Bureau of Labor Statistics this week published its regular report on job and wage growth in the nation's counties, this time for the fourth quarter of 2014. The report makes for fun reading for some in the local economic development community: Williamson County's 6.1 percent job growth rate last year ranks fifth nationally in the BLS' large-county category while the 4.9 percent increase in average wages put the county in the top 50. Similarly, Rutherford County's job growth of 3.9 percent easily outpaced the nation's 2.2 percent pace.
Davidson County's strong growth of 3.6 percent, however, is made a good bit more sobering when put alongside its wage numbers, which clocked in at just 1.5 percent. That put the heart of Middle Tennessee and the home of more than half its jobs all the way in 306th out of 340 counties. With the mayoral race heating up, we're thinking the topic of wages and bringing quality jobs to Davidson County will quickly move up the agenda from here.
You can peruse the full BLS report at this link.
Here's an interesting stat from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
In its most recent release involving unemployment, the department lists the number of people for "available labor" — that is, discouraged workers, unemployed workers and the partially unemployed.
In only 13 of the state's 95 counties are there more available female workers than male. For employment in general, women (at least those who want a full-time job) seemingly are faring better than men in Tennessee.
Now as to wage equality related to gender...
So we can't point to the harsh winter weather anymore, right?
Year-over-year job growth in the Nashville MSA clocked in at 2.7 percent in April, in line with the previous two months. As far as we can tell, it's the first time in more than three years that Music City has put up three straight months of sub-3 percent growth. Smaller gains in construction didn't help, but that sector employs less than 40,000 of the region's almost 900,000 workers so it can't really have a big impact. Of bigger import has been the dropoff in growth in the business services and hospitality sectors, which combine to employ more than 240,000 people. On the plus side, manufacturing, retail and education/health are holding their own.
The Nashville Technology Council and CareerBuilder have released their latest report on the state of Nashville's technology jobs market. The short version: Employment rose by 2,200 people and the number of openings grew 9 percent to more than 1,500. But closing the gap between the region's supply and demand — one of the NTC team's biggest priorities — remains a big challenge because the region isn't yet producing enough degreed or certified tech professionals.
Check out the full report here. It also features comparisons to cities around the Southeast and shows that Nashville-area employers tend to pay a little less than their peers elsewhere in the region.
So... This set of numbers showing Nashville job growth staying well under 3 percent for the second straight month was probably due to the weather, right? For the sake of It City, let's hope the late-winter snows are to blame. It's likely the weather is the cause of the construction sector's drop into single-digit growth for the first time since October. But a number of other sectors also were well off the pace they had set early this year. Come next month, they'll have to pick up the pace.
Nashville-area employment growth slipped to 2.6 percent in February, its slowest pace in at least a couple of years. The biggest contributors to the slowdown — which would seem to have been heavily influenced by the disruptive winter storms — were the manufacturing, business services and leisure sectors.
The number of Nashville-area jobs rose by 3.4 percent year over year in January, the fastest pace in four months. The construction sector somehow added momentum and was up more than 12 percent while the transportation and utilities industries rebounded from some slow months to end 2014. The important factory, retail, education and health sectors kept right trucking from where they left off last year. Looking ahead, we'll be keeping our eye on February's numbers for any impact from the winter weather blasts we had to endure.
The Dallas, Orlando and Houston MSAs finished 2014 with the fastest job growth among large U.S. cities, according to new info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nashville wasn't far behind, coming in eighth, and outpaced Austin, Charlotte and Atlanta, the cities most people consider its main ECD competitors.
Here's the full list from the BLS.
The Nashville-area economy created 25,600 jobs in 2014, according to preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compiled by MTSU's Business and Economic Research Center. The 3.1 percent growth rate was a bit higher than 2013's but down from the white-hot 3.9 percent pace of 2012. The region's construction sector will look back on the year with fond memories of double-digit growth, and business services companies continue to create hundreds of jobs each month. But look at the education and health services line in the chart below for what could be an important emerging trend. After treading water for the first eight months of the year, those two local economic heavyweights picked up the pace in a big way in the fall and ended the year having added 3,600 jobs. Without that surge, we wouldn't have reached 3 percent overall growth for the year.
Heading toward the end of 2014, the Middle Tennessee job market was weaving some interesting narratives. The construction sector's growth picked up speed in November, clocking in at a whopping 13 percent, and the important health/education, retail and durable goods manufacturing sectors were holding their own. But overall growth was pulled back a bit because of growing softness in hospitality employment and a further slowing in the broad business sector, which was up "just" 6 percent year over year versus 10 percent in September. Check out all these numbers and more high-level data at the website of MTSU's Business and Economic Research Center.
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