American Job Centers
In this month’s survey, we asked a bonus question to gauge respondents’ familiarity and experiences with the American Job Centers. The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA) operates 12 American Job Centers in the area that offer various workforce development services to both job seekers and area employers. Among the services that they offer, American Job Centers assist employers with finding qualified employees, offer on-the-job training contracts and provide various other resources to businesses.
To the left is a flow chart showing how Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds (annual federal workforce development funding) is distributed down to the local American Job Center.
Our survey results show that 74% of respondents are not familiar with the American Job Centers and the respondents who are aware of them have not used any of their services. This suggests that ETHRA may want to raise more awareness about American Job Center’s services to businesses in the community.
COVID-19 Local Restrictions
We also asked this month’s survey participants if local COVID-19 restrictions are negatively impacting their businesses and if so, in what ways. Survey respondents were split almost evenly between those indicating that they are being negatively impacted and those that indicated they are not.
Based on respondent feedback regarding the negative impacts of the local COVID-19 restrictions, seating and capacity limitations for social gatherings are mentioned most frequently as is the continued mixed messaging of local government on how to best address the pandemic. This inconsistent messaging by government on all levels continues to impact local consumer confidence, economic uncertainty and business stress.
There also is a ripple effect as businesses that can only serve a limited number of customers are indicating that they are unable to make enough money to make payments on items like rent or loans thereby affecting other businesses like commercial property management companies and financial lenders.
As we noted in last month’s ECO report, the Tennessee Pulse Survey conducted by Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group and the University of Tennessee over the summer indicated that many consumers were not comfortable engaging in certain activities like dining-in at restaurants, going to movies, attending large events, etc. unless certain conditions improved such as declining test positivity rates, availability of a vaccine or easing of COVID-19 restrictions. You can view the full COVID-19 Consumer Sentiments Survey here. The Consumer Confidence Index®, which The Conference Board releases the last Tuesday of every month, shows a slight decrease in October at 100.9 (down from 101.3 in September). All this data continue to tell us that low consumer confidence is still most likely contributing to the slow economic recovery especially as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise along with hospitalizations and unfortunately deaths.
Source: Tennessee Department of Revenue
Labor Market Information