Will tightening labor market be the grinch that stole mid-state Christmas?

Oct 9, 2018

Credit wallethub.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Middle Tennessee’s economy is on a roll, but a tightening labor market could threaten that success.

The personal finance website Wallethub.com recently ranked Nashville and Murfreesboro among the top ten fastest growing cities in America. Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez says Murfreesboro actually ranked first in the nation for job growth.

“That number grew by about 4.5 percent over the past six years. In Nashville, for instance, that number is more like 2.5 percent. So we see that Murfreesboro alone has really seen a lot of that job growth; even more so than Nashville.”

Middle Tennessee’s expanding economy has pushed unemployment to record lows. Williamson County has the area’s lowest jobless rate at 2.8 percent. Metro Nashville’s unemployment rate stands at 3 percent…Rutherford County at 3.1 percent.

Lipscomb University Economist Andy Borchers says rapid growth and a tightening labor market are putting the squeeze on mid-state companies. He says the Christmas push is making the problem even worse.

“And so firms are going to be jockeying to see who can get that labor force that they need in order to complete the holiday season.”

Dr. Borchers notes that companies like Kohl’s and Amazon have already raised wages in an effort to attract more seasonal workers. If that doesn’t help, he says look for mid-state companies recruit from rural communities.

“I’ve seen that in other states where employers will literally bus somebody 40 or 50 miles to get that worker to come in to town to work.”

Borchers says a tight labor market during the holidays will be especially challenging for shippers like Tennessee based FedEx.

 

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