Tennessee outpaces U.S. in pandemic job recovery, some areas by a year

Nashville 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee outpaces the nation for current job recovery and overall business growth accoding to LaborIQ by ThinkWhy.

The company reports, forecasts, and advises on employment conditions and the impact to jobs, industries, and businesses across all U.S. cities. New data shows some of Tennessee’s biggest metro’s, like Nashville, will recover a full year ahead of the entire country.

Nashville jobs are still down by 2.6%, with 28,100 jobs to regain. It lost 147,100 but has already seen significant job gains. Nashville will recover fully in 2022, with most industries recovering in 2021. Educational Services and Manufacturing predicting to recover in 2022.

“Nashville has one of the strongest rates of population gain when we look out the next five years, so that’s going to fuel jobs added to the market and overall, a good economy,” said Jay Denton, Chief Analyst of LaborIQ. “The good news for Nashville is we’re already seeing by the end of next year most industries will fully recover.”

“If anyone goes outside, especially outside, they can see the vibrancy of the construction industry, also financial activity, banks, investment firms, and real estate falls in that as well. Those have recovered all jobs, which is impressive given how devastating the pandemic was.”

At last check, Tennessee was about 65,000 jobs shy of total recovery and of that, nearly 44,000 of those jobs are in leisure and hospitality, an industry that likely won’t recover until 2025.

“Eventually, we should start to add some of those jobs back. We had a great month of job growth in July, almost a million added (nationwide), almost a million added in June, so we are gaining a lot of traction,” Denton said.

Though business owners are eager to capture market demand, they can’t seem to hire employees quickly enough.

“The challenge today is there are more 10 million jobs in the United States, and we can’t to seem to find the workers. We’re not sure where they all went,” Denton said, adding this trend should change over the next few months as additional unemployment benefits run out.

But, what about the Delta variant? Will it have an impact on our recovery timeline?

Denton said it shouldn’t put it behind too much, though he admits travel and hospitality will likely see another dip.

“I still think there’s enough opportunities out there that even if there was a slowdown with the Delta variant, that by the end of next year, we still would have recaptured all of the jobs,” Denton said.

LaborIQ reports across Tennessee, the hardest-hit industries – those which rely on hourly workers – will likely see some of the largest near-term job gains. Hiring will remain robust.

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