Download Now

Asheville Metro Economic Report – 2017 Fourth Quarter

Johnson Price Sprinkle PA provides Asheville Metro Economic Report – 2017 Fourth Quarter. JPS is a sixty-year-old accounting firm with offices in Asheville, Boone & Marion; serving Western North Carolina with dedicated CPAs providing small-to-middle-market businesses and high wealth individuals with tax, business consulting, audit, and technology services.

Highlights:

The fourth quarter saw a continuation of long-term growth in the four-county Asheville metro (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties). Positive monthly year-to-year job growth has continued uninterrupted for eighty-eight straight months; nearly seven and one-half years. The Asheville metro has held the lowest unemployment rate in the state for the last thirty-four consecutive months.  

    •  In the fourth quarter of 2017, Asheville metro added an average of 3,600 net new jobs from a year earlier, earning an average growth rate of 1.9 percent. Positive monthly year-to-year job growth has continued uninterrupted for eighty-eight straight months; nearly seven and one-half years.

    •  Employment averaged 194,300 over the quarter; setting a new all-time quarter employment total. Asheville metro’s fourth quarter growth rate outpaced both the national and statewide rates of 1.5 and 1.6 percent respectively.

    •  At 3.5 percent, Asheville’s average unemployment rate for the quarter continues as the lowest among all the state’s fifteen metros. The Asheville metro has held the lowest unemployment rate in the state for the last thirty-four consecutive months; nearly three straight years.

    •  The Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality sectors led job growth in the fourth quarter; each adding more than 1,000 jobs over the year. Positive job creation was experienced in nine of eleven major industry sectors. 

    •  Buncombe County Lodging Sales totaled $110 million in the fourth quarter; $8.9 million or 8.8 percent above the fourth quarter of 2016. Lodging Sales have experienced positive quarterly year-over-year growth for eight straight years.

    •  Total Passenger Traffic at the Asheville Regional Airport equaled 272,477 in the fourth quarter of 2017; up 20.9 percent from a year earlier. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter with double-digit passenger increases.

    •  Existing homes sold in the fourth quarter totaled 1,035, while the average sales price equaled $361,619. The number of homes sold closely matches the number sold one-year earlier, while over the same period the average sales price gained 13 percent. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter with prices advancing while the number of homes sold remained flat or declined when measured year-over-year.

Detailed Analysis:

Employment

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Asheville metro added an average of 3,600 net new jobs from a year earlier, earning an average growth rate of 1.9 percent (Figure 1). Positive monthly year-to-year job growth has continued uninterrupted for eighty-eight straight months; nearly seven and one-half years. Employment averaged 194,300 over the quarter; setting a new all-time quarter employment total. Asheville metro’s fourth quarter growth rate outpaced both the national and statewide rates of 1.5 and 1.6 percent respectively.

Figure 1
Total Employment
Monthly Year-Year
Percent Change

Figure 1 Total Employment Monthly Year-Year Percent Change

Source: NC Division of Employment Security

Asheville metro’s employment growth rate over the fourth quarter of 2017 places it fourth among the state’s 15 metros (Figure 2).  Four of North Carolina’s metros lost employment over the quarter; Greensboro-Hight Point, Burlington, New Bern and Rocky Mount.

Figure 2
2017 4Q Average
North Carolina Metros Employment
One-Year Percent Change

Figure 2 2017 4Q Average North Carolina Metros Employment One-Year Percent Change

Source: NC Division of Employment Security

Averaging 3.5 percent over the fourth quarter of 2017, Asheville metro’s unemployment rate continues to hold below the nation and state; averaging 3.9 and 4.4 percent respectively (Figure 3). The unemployment rate translates into 8,000 residents unable to find employment.

Asheville metro’s average unemployment rate for the quarter continues as the lowest among all the state’s fifteen metros (Figure 4).  The metro has held the lowest unemployment rate in the state for the last thirty-four consecutive months; nearly three straight years. Twelve of the state’s metros have quarterly unemployment rates exceeding the national average.

Figure 3
Unemployment Rates (%)

Figure 3 Unemployment Rates (%)

Source: NC Division of Employment Security

Figure 4
Unemployment Rate (%)
2017 4Q Average

Figure 4 Unemployment Rate (%) 2017 4Q Average

Source: NC Division of Employment Security

The Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality sectors led job growth in the fourth quarter; each adding more than 1,000 jobs over the year. Positive job creation was experienced in nine of eleven major industry sectors (Figure 5).

Figure 5
Asheville Metro – 2017 4Q
Major Industry Employment
One-Year Change

Figure 5 Asheville Metro – 2017 4Q Major Industry Employment One-Year Change

Totals rounded to nearest 100
Source: NC Division of Employment Security

Earnings

Private industry average hourly earnings in Asheville metro equaled $22.57 in the fourth quarter, a decline of 1.3 percent from a year earlier; marking the first year-over-year decline in the past nine quarters (Figure 6).

Asheville metro’s fourth quarter hourly earnings place it seventh among all fifteen metros in the state; remaining below the statewide and national averages (Figure 7). Three of the state’s metros continue to hold average hourly earnings above both the national and state averages; Raleigh, Charlotte, and Durham-Chapel Hill.

Figure 6
Asheville Metro
Average Hourly Earnings
Private Industry

Figure 6 Asheville Metro Average Hourly Earnings Private Industry

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Figure 7
North Carolina Metros – 2017 4Q

Average Hourly Earnings
Private Industry

Figure 7 North Carolina Metros - 2017 4Q Average Hourly Earnings Private Industry

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Leisure & Hospitality

Buncombe County Lodging Sales totaled $110 million in the fourth quarter; $8.9 million or 8.8 percent above the fourth quarter of 2016 (Figure 8). Lodging Sales have experienced positive quarterly year-over-year growth for eight straight years.

Figure 8
Buncombe County
Lodging Sales

Figure 8 Buncombe County Lodging Sales

Source: Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority

Average Hotel Room Rates in Buncombe County rose by 2.3 percent from one year earlier, closely matching the pace of the previous three quarters (Figure 9). The room rate averaged $173 in the fourth quarter.

Figure 9
Buncombe County
Average Hotel Room Rate

Figure 9 Buncombe County Average Hotel Room Rate

Source: Smith Travel Research, Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority

Total Passenger Traffic at the Asheville Regional Airport equaled 272,477 in the fourth quarter of 2017; up 20.9 percent from a year earlier (Figure 10). This marks the fifth consecutive quarter with double-digit passenger increases.

Figure 10
Asheville Regional Airport
Total Passengers

Figure 10 Asheville Regional Airport Total Passengers

Source: Asheville Regional Airport

Housing

Existing homes sold in the fourth quarter totaled 1,035, while the average sales price equaled $361,619 (Figure 11). The number of homes sold closely matches the number sold one-year earlier, while over the same period the average sales price gained 13 percent (Figure 12). This marks the sixth consecutive quarter with prices advancing while the number of homes sold remained flat or declined when measured year-over-year; likely indicating limited inventory amid strong demand.

Figure 11
Asheville Area
Existing Home Sales

Figure 11 Asheville Area Existing Home Sales

Source: NC REALTORS

Figure 12
Asheville Area

Existing Home Sales Trends
Quarterly Year-Year Change (%)

Figure 12 Asheville Area Existing Home Sales Trends Quarterly Year-Year Change (%)

Source: NC REALTORS

At 7.7 percent, Asheville’s Same-Home Annual Appreciation Rate in the fourth quarter ranks fourth among all the state’s metros and holds above both the statewide and national rates (Figure 13). This marks the nineteenth consecutive quarter of positive Same-Home Appreciation Rates in the Asheville metro. Both the Fayetteville and Goldsboro metros experienced home price depreciation in the quarter.

Figure 13
North Carolina Metros
Same-Home Annual Appreciation Rate (%)
2017 4Q

Figure 13 North Carolina Metros Same-Home Annual Appreciation Rate (%) 2017 4Q

Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency

Estimated permit activity for new residential building totaled 689 units in the fourth quarter with a value of $133.2 million (Figure 14). In percentage terms, the total number of units permitted is up 57.3 percent from one year earlier, while the total value is up 23.4 percent. Multifamily accounted for 268 units or 39 percent of all residential units issued in the fourth quarter.

Figure 14
Asheville Metro
Estimated Residential Building Permits Activity*

Figure 14 Asheville Metro Estimated Residential Building Permits Activity*
*Based on a monthly survey of permitting agencies, which the Census
Bureau estimates is typically missing less than 20% of total data.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

 Retail Sales

Taxable retail sales in Asheville metro totaled $1,908,752,828 ($1.9 billion) for the fourth quarter; 0.2 percent below collections for the same period one-year earlier (Figure 15). This marks the first year-over-year decline in the last sixteen quarters, albeit by a nominal 0.2 percent.

Figure 15
Asheville Metro
Taxable Retail Sales

Figure 15 Asheville Metro Taxable Retail Sales

*Includes collections of penalties, interest, and sales & use tax; and may reflect activity from prior periods.
Source: NC Department of Revenue

For Printer-Friendly Version, Click Here. 

Are you and your business ready for the next quarter?
Contact JPS.

www.jpspa.com

Asheville               Boone                      Marion
828-254-2374       828-262-0997           828-652-7044

 About JPS:

Johnson Price Sprinkle PA is a 60+ year old accounting firm providing small to middle market businesses with tax, business consulting, audit, fraud, and technology solution services. With offices in Asheville, Boone, and Marion, NC, our CPAs and JPS team strive to provide personal service alongside technical expertise resulting in our clients’ long-term financial success. We also invest time and energy in our community, taking pride in doing what we can to make Western North Carolina a better place.  JPS Mission: To Be Greater by positively impacting our Clients, People, Community and Profession.