Chattanooga among top 25 cities for job growth this year

Chattanooga among top 25 cities for job growth this year

Area grows employment 3 times U.S. rate

December 12th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Visitors applying for jobs are given a tour of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Enterprise South Industrial Park on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Amazon held nationwide job fairs Wednesday to fill 50,000 positions as the company sees a surge in growth.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Top metro cities for job growth in the Southeast United States

1. Fayettevile, Ark. - 5.2 percent, or 13,385 jobs (national rank No. 2)

2. Athens, Ga. - 5 percent, or-4,632 jobs (national rank No. 6)

3. Daphne-Fairhip-Foley, Ala. - 4.9 percent, or 4,208 jobs (national rank No. 7)\

4. Sebring, Fla. - 4.8 percent, or 1,635 jobs (national rank No. 8)

5. Nashville - 4.6 per cent, or 43,392 jobs (national rank No. 11)

6. Morristown, Tenn. - 4.2 percent, or 2,043 jobs (national rank No. 14)

7. Auburn-Opelika, Ala. - 4.2 percent, or 2,938 jobs (national rank No .16)

8. Naples, Fla. - 4.1 percent , or 6,466 jobs (national rank No. 17)

9. Chattanooga - 9,377 jobs, or 3.8 percent (national rank No. 21)

10. Johnson City - 3.7 percent, or 3,147 jobs (national rank No. 22)

Source: 24/7 WallStreet assessment of employment growth in metropolitan areas from January to October, 2017. Bellingham, Wash., had the fastest growth at 5.5 percent, adding 5,609 jobs during the first 10 months of the year.

Employment in the Chattanooga area this year is growing more than three times as fast as the rest of the country, placing Chattanooga among the top cities for job growth in 2017, according to a new study of employment trends by the web site 24/7 Wall Street.

From January through October, employers in the six-county Chattanooga metropolitan area added 9,377 net new jobs, boosting overall employment in the region by 3.8 percent. That ranked as the 21st best rate of job growth among all 388 metropolitan cities in the United States.

Chattanooga was among four Tennessee metro areas among the top 10 metro areas for job growth in the South so far in 2017. Overall, Tennessee's jobless rate fell this fall to 3 percent — the lowest level on record — and Chattanooga's unemployment rate fell in October to 3.5 percent — one of the lowest months in the past two decades.

The fastest growth rate in Tennessee was in metro Nashville, which added 43,392 jobs in the first 10 months of the year to grow employment by 4.6 percent, BLS figures show.

Workers unpack items shipped from affiliates to the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Enterprise South Industrial Park on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Amazon held nationwide job fairs Wednesday to fill 50,000 positions as the company sees a surge in growth.

Workers unpack items shipped from affiliates to the...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Employment growth January to October

Metropolitan Chattanooga added 9,377 jobs from January to October this year. The biggest job gains came in:

Government up 1,700

Business services up 1,700

Manufacturing up 1,300

Education, health services up 1,200

Hospitality up 900

Construction up 700

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

"Tennessee is showing strong job growth across nearly all sectors of the economy, especially in the Nashville, Chattanooga and Morristown areas," said Dr. Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee. "At this point, we don't see any signs of a slowdown or reversal of these job trends."

Rosemarie Thomas, who manages the Chattanooga staffing agency Total Resource Inc., said demand for workers in Chattanooga, both seasonal and those hired for permanent jobs, continues to grow.

"With unemployment so low, we don't see as many people as we once did coming in the door looking for jobs, but we're still doing very well despite the relatively tight market for labor," she said.

Chattanooga has succeeded in attracting nearly 6,000 more workers into the labor market since January to help fill about two thirds of the new jobs. New workers are entering the local workforce from relocations, graduations or re-entry into the labor market after dropping out after having trouble landing a job in the past or leaving the labor market for family or personal reasons.

Thomas Frohlich, a writer for 24/7 Wall Street, said 2017 is shaping up as "an exceptional year in the labor market" with the U.S. jobless rate dropping to a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

"Barring a massive exodus of workers from the labor force, falling unemployment almost always reflects increased hiring, which in turn bodes well for the economy," he said. Economic growth in the second and third quarter topped 3 percent nationwide — the fastest growth for any 6-month period in more than a decade.

From January through October, the number of Americans currently employed rose by 1.2 percent. Employment rose faster over that period in 187 of the nation's 388 metro areas. It declined in only 78 metro areas.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.


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