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Weekend edition August 26, 2022 | Kailyn Lamb

Inflation continues to rise in Knoxville region as businesses struggle

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

After a slight improvement in the manufacturing sector last month, things appeared to have worsened for businesses surveyed in the Knoxville Chamber’s July “Economic Conditions Outlook” (ECO) report.

Financed by First Horizon Bank, manufacturing businesses were split between “worsened” and “the same” for both general activity and company outlooks. These businesses responded with “improved” in the June “ECO.” Retail businesses also reported general activity and company outlooks as “worsened.” Businesses in this sector located downtown made additional comments that the number of homeless people in the area needs to be addressed to improve the retail experience for customers. In the service sector, businesses reported general activity as “mixed,” and company outlooks as “the same.” Businesses also responded to both categories as “the same,” in the June report.

The unemployment rate in the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for June was 3.9 percent, a slight increase compared to May. In Knox County, the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, also a slight increase compared to May. In June, there were 12,018 unique active job postings in the Knoxville MSA, an increase of 5.8 percent from May. In Knox County, there were 7,879 unique active job postings, statistically unchanged from May. Administrative support, waste management, and remediation services is the top industry category with more than 1,400 postings, and registered nurses are the top posted occupation with nearly 500 postings.

Other important identified trends were:

  • The “ECO” highlighted two recent WalletHub rankings, including Tennessee having the 10th highest job resignation rate in the nation, which biz posted about here. The second WalletHub ranking was of the most and least educated metros in America. The 150 largest MSAs were ranked across 11 metrics, including adults with bachelor’s degrees or higher, quality of public schools, and the gender education gap. The Knoxville MSA ranked 90th overall, while ranking 91st in educational attainment, and 59th for quality of education and attainment gap. Nashville ranked two spots higher than Knoxville overall, while Memphis ranked 104th and Chattanooga ranked 112th. Find the full ranking here. The “ECO” report added that higher levels of educational attainment lead to higher wages and the region’s need to recruit more people in the 25-54 age group to increase the skilled labor force.
  • Inflation rates continue to rise in both the region and nationally. The national inflation rate from June 2021 to June 2022 was 9.1 percent, an increase of 0.5 percent from May. The Knoxville region also saw an increase. The June 2021 to June 2022 inflation rate was 9.8 percent, a 0.7 percent increase from the previous month.
  • Home sales in both the Knoxville MSA and Knox County saw slight improvements in June, going up 1.6 percent and 1 percent, respectively. However, sales are down compared to the previous year. Knoxville area sales are down 2.9 percent while Knox County is down 13 percent.
  • Forty-six percent of homes sold over asking price in June. The median home sale price in the Knoxville MSA was $326,000 and the median home sale price in Knox County was $358,875.
  • The Knoxville MSA collected nearly $125 million in state sales tax in June, a slight increase from May. In Knox County, $81.1 million in state sales tax was collected, also a slight increase.
  • The number of new business licenses was down 12.2 percent in June compared to the previous year, with 259 new licenses issued.

Read the full report here.

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