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Weekend edition December 17, 2021 | Kailyn Lamb

November “ECO” report continues to look at business impacts of COVID-19

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

In the November edition of the Knoxville Chamber’s “Economic Conditions Outlook” (ECO) report, the organization continues to survey companies on the impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses. The report is powered by First Horizon Bank.

Due to a technical issue, November responses from businesses in the manufacturing industry did not come through. However, those in the retail sector reported that both general business activity and future outlooks were split between “worsened” and the “same.” In the service sector, general business activity was reported as “mixed” while outlooks were “the same.”

In this issue, businesses were also surveyed on how pandemic-related mandates could possibly impact them. When asked about the rate of employee retirement in the last two years, and whether business owners saw an increase during COVID-19, the majority of respondents (70 percent) said they did not see an impact from employees retiring during the pandemic. Only 33 percent of the respondents in the service industry indicated their business was impacted. None of the businesses surveyed in the retail industry said they were impacted by retiring employees.

In the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the unemployment rate for October was 2.8 percent. The labor force in the Knoxville MSA increased by 0.5 percent. In October, there were 42,675 unique job postings. The estimated number of unemployed people in the area is 12,155. The “ECO” report said that if every unemployed worker in Knoxville received a job today, they would only fill 28 percent of the open jobs.

Other important trends identified were:

  • Home sales in the Knoxville area increased by 1.2 percent from September to October. Both Knoxville and Knox County experienced slight declines compared to sales in 2020. The median home sale price in the Knoxville area was $285,000, an increase of 14 percent compared to last year. In Knox County, the median home price was $291,500, an increase of around 17 percent compared to last year.
  • Housing inventory is down nationally. In Knoxville, total inventory is down 30 percent compared to 2020 and 46 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The Knoxville MSA collected $110.04 million in state sales tax in October. Knox County collected $69.95 million. Both saw slight increases in collected state sales tax compared to September.
  • In October, 225 new business licenses were issued in Knox County. This is down 3.8 percent compared to last October, and down 13.1 percent compared to 2019.

Read the full report here.

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