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Latest “ECO” report shows hopeful signs of industries returning to pre-pandemic revenues

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

The Knoxville Chamber’s April “Economic Conditions Outlook” (ECO), financed by First Horizon Bank, showed some hopeful signs of industries returning to pre-pandemic revenues.

Based on responses to the monthly survey of participating businesses in the manufacturing, retail, and services industries, the latest report revealed that businesses in the manufacturing industry said that general activity has “improved,” and that the forecast for the next six months leans toward positive growth. Retail businesses and those in the service industry also said that general activity is “improved,” with the outlook split between “improved” and “the same.”

In addition, the Chamber surveyed these same businesses on March 2021 revenue compared to pre-pandemic revenue in March 2019. Manufacturers reported that their revenue was up 10 percent compared to 2019. Retailers reported a split between being up and remaining the same. Those that did report increases said they were between 10 and 40 percent. The service industry, on the other hand, was split between showing increases and decreases. The reported increases were 5,10, and 25 percent. Decreases were 10, 16, and 25 percent.

The unemployment rate for March in the Knoxville area was 4.5 percent, which is higher than last year. The size of the labor force decreased locally and statewide from February to March, according to the report.

Other important trends identified were:

  • There were 37,398 unique active job postings in the Knoxville area, which is up 40.4 percent from last March.
  • Existing-home sales in the Knoxville area went up from February to March by 28.8 percent. This is also an increase of 13 percent from March 2020. The median home sales price in the Knoxville area was $255,000. In Knox County, the median home sales price was $260,000. Inventory continues to be down, with the number of active listings down 63 percent compared to last year.
  • The Knoxville metropolitan statistical area collected $90 million in state sales tax in March, a 12.2 percent increase from this time last year. Knox County collected $51.8 million, which is up 10.3 percent from last March.
  • New business licenses are up 27.3 percent from last March. 275 new licenses were issued.

In the report’s newest section on business expansions or announcements, there were four listings, including the grand opening of Ancient Lore Village, a rentable event space, and Midway Business Park. Those interested in being included in this section can submit their business news to jriley@knoxvillechamber.com. Businesses interested in contributing to the monthly report can register here.

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