With the activity going on in the community, I wanted to focus a little this month on economic indicator updates. 2018 was a solid year industrially with our community adding 664 jobs and $162,000,000 capital investment. With more projects to hire jobs in 2019 and 2020, the industrial pipeline looks rather good. Overall, there are 797 available jobs with 6,157 available candidates in Hamblen County with these jobs paying $40,000 on average. This gives companies 7.7 candidates per job opening which shows more entrants into the workforce.
Now lets take a look at commercial and residential construction. In commercial construction, Hamblen County experienced a 26% increase in permits from 2017 to 2018 and showed a $200,000 increase in permit values. Housing has seen a significant 50% increase in in new permits, but in my opinion, is still slower than the need for a variety of housing. Interestingly, units over 4,000 sq ft or permits over $400,000 were the same as 2017 with a total of 2. Jefferson County, for comparison, had 17. This may be attributed to the availability of buildable lake property, but is still disappointing knowing how many of our leaders live outside our community, utilizing our services, but contributing less to our tax base. Interestingly, when looking at property area value distribution maps (how much taxable property have we developed) we are greater than Greene, Jefferson and essentially all of our surrounding counties, showing we develop efficiently and get a pretty good bang for our buck.
Retail sales data is always interesting as well. For the latest reported period, Hamblen County had just over $100,000,000 in retail sales for the month. Not bad for the 3rd smallest county in the State of TN. Greene County, during this same period had $75,000,000 in sales and Jefferson had $49,999,999. Why does this matter? The more retail sales tax dollars we collect, the lower our prop-erty taxes can be.
Hopefully you find this data useful. We sort and utilize it daily to understand the true growth going on within and around our community.