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[Note: Indicators Updated September 5, 2019]
  • Economic indicators weakened in July as demonstrated by softening sales tax collections and the small gain in nonfarm employment. Housing construction gained during July, however, and more job seekers entered the labor force.
  • Seasonally adjusted weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance in Tennessee dipped dropped to 2,339 in July from 2,449 in June. The trend for initial claims has gradually declined during the past 6 months. [graph]
  • Permits issued for single-family home construction in Tennessee rose to 2,485 in July from 2,209 units in June, while the less volatile trend has increased during the past 6 months. Over the year, single-family permits are down 5.1% while total permits are 1.1% lower, reflecting somewhat more growth in multi-family units relative to single-family units. [graph]
  • State sales tax collections fell in July, the second monthly decline. Just six of the state's ten metropolitan areas experienced a gain in seasonally adjusted state sales tax collections from last year. Over the year, state sales tax collections are 3.0% higher for Tennessee. [graph]
  • Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment for Tennessee rose 4,000 in July from June, less than the average monthly gain for the previous 12 months. Nonfarm employment growth is 1.8% over the year for Tennessee. Over the year growth rates for seven of the state's ten MSAs exceed the state average. [graph]
  • The unemployment rate for July rose to 3.5% after seasonal adjustment, the third monthly increase, edging closer to the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.7%. Much of the increase in Tennessee can be attributed to a rise in the number of job seekers. [graph]
  • Average weekly hours worked dropped to 34.9 in July from 35.5 in June. Over the year, average weekly hours are down 2.0%. [graph]
  • Average hourly earnings for Tennessee fell to $24.00 in July from $24.40 in June, still near a post-recession high, and 2.6% higher over the year. Adjusted for inflation, average hourly earnings are up 1.1% over the year. [graph]
    — Research by David Penn, associate professor of economics, retired. Real average hourly earnings are calculated by dividing nominal hourly earnings by the monthly CPI-U for the South published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment Growth by Industry