Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

Born Again Jobs and a Shrinking Tri-Cities Labor Force

One local blogger wrote the following about phony job creation that's practiced here:

These are what economists call "Born Again" jobs. Jobs that were here before, and that went away when the last Fed bubble burst, and now are "born again" when the Fed re-inflates the next economic bubble. You don't make any dent in long term unemployment numbers when the same jobs are repetitively "born again and again", born more times than the average evangelical. But notice how the taxpayer is assuming ownership of the place (see Heritage Glass, etc. ) now and is merely leasing it to the temporary evangelicals.

And by the way, why have the quarterly Steb Hipple reports on job creation been less prominent in the paper lately? Used to be big front page headlines telling us of the number of "born again" jobs masquerading as real jobs. That man was the high priest authority when it came to counting the number of not so real jobs in the area.

Steb Hipple on a Shrinking Tri-Cities Labor Force 2014

Trulia predicted that Tri-Cities region would have the slowest growth and rank at the bottom in both Virginia and Tennessee - they were overly optimistic. What we have is negative job growth from a shrinking jobs sector.

ETSU economist Steb Hipple is the last word in economics in Tri-Cities, but lately nobody in the press or government are saying much about him - they claim unemployment is down and all the corporate welfare has turned the economy around. Well, not really. To quote Dr. Hipple:

During the first quarter (2014), the Tri-Cities Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) continued to see job losses. Compared to the same period in 2013, regional job levels were lower by 0.7% to 221,514. Employment has now declined for the past eight quarters and increasing numbers of jobless workers are withdrawing from the regional labor force.

As a result, unemployment fell 16.5% to 16,072, and the labor force contracted by 1.9% to 237,586. The jobless rate for the metro area was 6.8%, compared to 7.9% a year earlier. Under these conditions, a falling unemployment rate is a sign of labor market weakness...

During the January to March period, employment was higher by 0.5% in Bristol, but fell 1.6% in Johnson City and 1.2% in Kingsport. Matching the regional pattern, large numbers of unemployed workers are exiting the labor market in each city.

This has lowered jobless levels by double digits, contracted the labor force, and reduced jobless rates. The percent of workers unemployed fell to 6.6% in Johnson City, 6.7% in Bristol, and 6.8% in Kingsport. As in the metro area, the lower jobless rates in each city are a result of weakness in the labor market.

One would think the millions in corporate welfare would yield some jobs. What we really have are a few rehires at lower pay.

History of Local Poverty

Ralph Stanley Museum.

"The most corrupt region is Southwest Virginia...more indictments for political and public office corruption have happened in this region than all other parts of the state combined." Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies.

"It's a little-known fact that roughly 20 percent of the children in Southwest Virginia live below the poverty line and go hungry every night." Kevin Crutchfield, President Alpha Natural Resources, January 15, 2009

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