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Knoxville Chamber “ECO” report shows little change for local businesses in June

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

The Knoxville Chamber’s June “Economic Conditions Outlook” (ECO) report, financed by First Horizon Bank, shows manufacturing businesses seeing a slight improvement while retail and service remain the same.

For the June survey, businesses in the manufacturing sector reported that both general activity and company outlooks are “improved.” In the May report, businesses stated general activity was “worsened” while outlooks were evenly split between “improved” and “worsened.” Businesses in both the retail and service sectors said general activity and company outlooks are “the same.” Both sectors had the same response in the May report. Retail businesses also reported they continue to struggle with hiring and service businesses said supply chain issues are also persisting.

In addition to general activity, the Chamber surveyed businesses on childcare availability for the June edition. A majority of the businesses (80 percent) stated it had not impacted hiring. Of the remaining businesses that were impacted, 67 percent said it was because the applicant could not find childcare, and 33 percent said it was because the applicant could not afford it. None of the responding businesses have had workers leave due to childcare issues.

The unemployment rate in the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for May was 3 percent, a slight increase from April. In Knox County, the May unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, also a slight increase. There were 11,360 active job postings in the Knoxville MSA in May, an increase of 2.3 percent from April. In Knox County, there were 7,876 active job postings, an increase of 7.5 percent.

Other important trends identified were:

  • The national inflation rate from May 2021 to May 2022 is 8.6 percent, an increase from last month and also the highest rate since 1981. Last year, the national inflation rate was 5 percent from May 2020 to May 2021. The Knoxville region’s inflation rate is 9.1 percent for May 2021 to May 2022.
  • The Chamber included annual pay information from the S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which saw significant growth in the Knoxville area. The average annual pay in Knox County is now $57,255, an increase of nearly $3,600, or 6.7 percent. From 2011 to 2019, the average increase in annual pay was around 2.5 percent each year, until 2020, when there was a 7.6 percent increase. The report noted that inflation cancels out many of the gains made from higher salaries. You can find more information on county statistics here.
  • Home sales in May declined 3.8 percent in the Knoxville MSA compared to last month. The County also saw a decrease of 5.3 percent. The MSA region is up 5.3 percent in home sales compared to last year, while Knox County is down 2.4 percent.
  • Half the homes were sold for more than asking price. The median price for a home in the Knoxville MSA was $325,000 and $346,000 in Knox County. Both saw an increase of around 25 percent compared to last year.
  • Housing inventory continues to trend up, according to the report. Inventory is up 40 percent from a year ago in the Knoxville area and 36 percent in Knox County.
  • The Knoxville MSA collected $123.4 million in state sales tax in May, a slight increase from April. Knox County collected $80.2 million in state sales tax, also a slight increase.
  • A total of 251 new business licenses were issued in Knox County in May, a slight decrease from the year before.

You can read the full report here.

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