Study: Knoxville completely recovered from recession

Study: Knoxville completely recovered from recession

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"Our business, our gross is about 70 percent of what it was three years ago or three and a half years ago, so no, I don't think Knoxville has fully recovered," said Conrad Majors of Greenlee's Bicycle Shop. "Our business, our gross is about 70 percent of what it was three years ago or three and a half years ago, so no, I don't think Knoxville has fully recovered," said Conrad Majors of Greenlee's Bicycle Shop.
"We like what this says, but we know we have more to do because people still need jobs, they need better jobs and we still have a lot of untapped potential here," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. "We like what this says, but we know we have more to do because people still need jobs, they need better jobs and we still have a lot of untapped potential here," said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An independent research group released a report Friday showing that the City of Knoxville has completely recovered from the recession.

Knoxville is one of three American cities mentioned in the study to do so. The Knoxville Metro Area consists of the City of Knoxville and Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Union counties.

Pittsburgh and Dallas were also mentioned in the report, entitled "Global MetroMonitor 2012 Slowdown, Recovery, and Interdependence."

The report looked at 2011-2012 data on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and employment change, among other factors.

But how do the results from this study fit with what we're seeing in the community?

Greenlee's Bicycle shop in north Knoxville is the third oldest bicycle shop in the country.

The shop has been in Conrad Majors' family for 113 years. The small business survived the Great Depression and most recently the recession.

"Within a year's time our business dropped about 40 percent, but it's gradually picked back up," said Majors.

But Majors says he still not selling as many bikes as he was five years ago. So when he sees the study stating Knoxville has fully recovered from the recession, he has his doubts.

"Our business, our gross is about 70 percent of what it was three years ago or three and a half years ago, so no, I don't think Knoxville has fully recovered," said Majors.

Even though the study says Knoxville is only one of three cities nationwide to have recovered from the recession, Mayor Madeline Rogero says there is still work that needs to be done to get this area back to where it was before the economy took a downturn.

"We like what this says, but we know we have more to do because people still need jobs, they need better jobs and we still have a lot of untapped potential here," said Mayor Rogero.

In May of 2007 the Knoxville Metropolitan Area had an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. In October of 2012 it was 6.2 percent.

According to the Brookings Institute study's lead author Emilia Istrate, the report shows that Knoxville has more jobs now than before the recession and that the area's gross domestic product per capita is higher.

Istrate says they do not track the changes in amount of people in the labor force or the unemployment numbers.

"Knoxville is on the path of growth and this is what is important for the years to come," said Istrate.

Even though the study shows, with two economic factors, that Knoxville is fully out of the recession, Majors says he won't be convinced until he sees more businesses reopen their doors.

"I'd like to see a thriving business. If I see that, then I'll feel like we are recovering at there, at least here on this corner," said Majors.

Mayor Rogero says the Knoxville Metropolitan Area is improving faster than other cities because the area wasn't originally hit as hard by the recession. That's partly due to the number of government, health care and university jobs.

Rogero also says the city has continued to invest in the community with beautification measures and tax incentives to draw in more customers and businesses.

Three hundred metropolitan areas worldwide were analyzed as part of the study.

The full report is available on the Brookings Institute website.

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