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Knoxville businesses show hiring trends stay local in latest ECO report

By Shannon Smith, Teknovation Assistant Editor, PYA

A new survey question shows most Knoxville businesses try to recruit local talent, according to the September edition of the “Economic Conditions Outlook” (ECO) report from the Knoxville Chamber.

The report, financed by First Horizon Bank, asked participants if they actively recruit employees from out-of-market, and 65 percent of respondents said no. The 35 percent who said yes said they used the Indeed job posting site, the public sector, and employee references as their primary sources for recruitment.

The September ECO report also showed a decline in unemployment locally and nationally and said inflation is “primarily being driven by continued supply chain disruptions and higher gasoline prices and has persisted longer than the Feds expected with price increases still at 40-year highs.” The current inflation rate for the Knoxville region is 8.6% for the August 2021 to August 2022 period. This is down from 9.1 percent during the July 2021 to July 2022 period. Last year, the rate was 5.9 percent for August 2020 to August 2021.

Here are more takeaways from the latest edition:

  • Knoxville’s labor force decreased by 1.5 percent, or just under 7,000 people, between July and August of 2022. Knox County saw a 1.4 percent decrease, or around 3,500 people, during the same period. State and national labor forces also saw slight decreases.
  • For the month of August, there were 9,481 unique active job postings in Knoxville and 6,370 in Knox County, which are both lower than the previous month
  • According to a newly released Tennessee Business Leaders Survey from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, 53.6 percent of business leaders in East Tennessee believe the U.S. economy will worsen over the next year. Of that same East Tennessee pool, 34 percent think high inflation is here to stay while 64.3 percent say Tennessee is moving in the right direction.
  • Home sales in the Knoxville area increased by 4.8 percent in August while home sales in Knox County decreased by 2.3 percent from the previous month. Thirty-three percent of homes sold for over the asking price in August, compared to 40 percent the previous month.

Find even more data by reading the full report here.

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