To Grow, Do You Stay or Go?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) - Spring is all about "new growth", and we don't mean the leaves on the trees.

The labor department tells us more people are working; America's unemployment rate is down to 4.4 percent.

But if you're looking, can you find the job you want here?

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd finds the opportunities are out there, but they alone, may not drive the decision to stay or go.

"I wanted to try something new, I've never really been to Tennessee," change drove UT sophomore Melinda Hannah from the big city, but opportunity may drive her back. "Knoxville, you think of as a big town. Not like a city. I would think that cities would have more job openings, more potential."

Maybe not.

"Everybody with a college education has a job, so it's a pretty good job market," explains UT business professor Dr. Bill Fox. "Most of that job creation has been in construction, or service-related areas."

One trip to Turkey Creek tells you Knoxville's shopping cup runneth over.

But Economic Researcher Bill Fox says service job growth covers a lot more than retail and restaurants. "There are jobs for the most sophisticated doctors and lawyers, and computer people."

"We're seeing more and more people, with the recommendation, for kids, for business administration, and because of the new mandates in accounting and finance, accounting is a big area for education," says Lisa Coker from Robert Half Placement-Recruiting Services.

Maybe they can add up why, if we're so hot for building, why we might be getting cooler toward buying or spending.

Higher mortgage rates and lower home sales drive some of those confidence numbers.

But what may cushion the blow in East Tennessee? The roller coaster, didn't go as high, so it doesn't have far to fall.

Still, "We have people come here because they have money to spend, we have people buy goods and services made in this area and if demand falls in the rest of the country, it eventually will affect us as well," says Dr. Fox.

Doctor Fox says we've kept job growth strong by thinking regionally, but Knoxville native Jessica Carney probably will leave for her first job. "I know somebody who works for a major firm around here, and they do okay, but in bigger cities, it's definitely more opportunity. Knoxville is like a college town, so like, if every college student says here and looks for the same jobs, then you know it's pretty competitive."

Doctor Fox says East Tennessee has kept job growth strong by marketing itself as a region, but if demand falls across the country, it will affect us eventually.


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