That’s one takeaway from state and local employment numbers from May 2018 drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On July 31, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued a press release that listed the top five occupational fields in the state with a median annual income of $20,000 or more. Office jobs, sales and transportation were all at the top of the list. Healthcare came in at No. 5. In the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, healthcare ranks No. 2.
According to a spreadsheet included in the release, food prep and service-related jobs employ 277,940 people in the state, which would put it just above transportation on the list of top employment sectors. The sector has a median annual income of $19,496.
The figures included in the report are from data compiled in the state’s Occupational Employment and Wages Survey, which is performed in collaboration with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Overall, Michelle Black, the community relations manager at the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, said wages in the local MSA are similar to the state. The annual median income in Tennessee is $34,890, which is higher than the $31,980 median income in the Johnson City MSA.
“Our wages are pretty comparable considering our cost of living versus the state’s total cost of living,” she said.
Office and administrative support
In the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistic Area, office and administrative support jobs, a category that includes customer service representatives and office clerks, capture the largest percentage of employment, according to numbers provided by the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership.
Out of a total employment of roughly 77,000 jobs in the MSA, the field encompasses 13,280 jobs, or 17.2% of employed people in the area.
This is slightly more than the 15.9% of the market that the field encompasses in the state. The state’s annual median income for the field is also slightly higher than the Johnson City MSA, totaling $33,010 compared to $29,220.
Office and administrative support jobs also make up the largest proportion of the state’s total workforce, encapsulating 469,000 workers.
At $58,773, Postal Service mail sorters, processors and processing machine operators are among the highest-paid employees in this category in Tennessee, according to state numbers. Mail carriers earn $51,745. In contrast, library assistants and hotel, motel and resort desk clerks are among the lowest-paid employees in this category at $25,572 and $21,089 respectively.
Food preperation and service jobs
After office jobs, food prep and service occupations make up the second-largest employment sector in the Johnson City MSA, encompassing 8,610 jobs or 11.2% of the workforce. Statewide, this sector employs 277,940 people and encapsulates 9.4% of the state’s roughly 2.96 million employees.
The local annual median income for employees in this field is only slightly lower than the state at large — $19,120 compared to $19,496 statewide.
Statewide, this job sector has grown 15% between 2013 and 2018, increasing from 241,790 jobs to 277,940. Locally, the sector has grown 6.3% from 8,100 jobs to 8,610.
At approximately 195,400 workers, healthcare practitioners, which includes doctors, dentists, nurses and technical employees, make up 6.6% of all employees in the state.
Healthcare jobs make up a larger chunk of the employment landscape in the Johnson City MSA than in the state as a whole — 10.7% in the MSA compared to 6.6% statewide. On average, the median annual income in those fields is also lower in the city’s MSA than in the state as a whole — $52,330 versus $56,070.
In Tennessee, internists and pediatricians were among the highest paid workers in this category, making a median annual wage of $207,186 and $181,744 respectively. Dietetic, psychiatric and pharmacy technicians were at the lower end of the pay scale, earning $23,871, $25,403 and $30,511 respectively.
There were 60,360 registered nurses tallied in the state in 2018 as well as 24,410 licensed practical and vocational nurses, which are among the largest occupations within this sector.
While this employment sector has grown statewide by 5.2% between 2013 and 2018, it has shrunk by about 1.1% locally.
Top jobs in Tennessee that pay more than $20,000:
1. Office and administrative support: 468,630 jobs or 15.85% of total employment in the state.
2. Sales and related occupations: 287,500 jobs or 9.7% of total employment in the state.
3. Transportation and material moving occupations: 277,000 jobs or 9.4% of total employment in the state.
Top jobs in Johnson City MSA that pay more than $20,000:
1. Office and administrative support occupations: 13,280 jobs or 17.2% of total employment in the city’s MSA.
2. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations: 8,260 jobs or 10.7% of total employment in the city’s MSA.
3. Sales and related occupations: 8,260 jobs or 10.7% of total employment in the city’s MSA.