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Third Quarter of 2016 Smashes Asheville Metro Area Economic Records, Says JPS

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The third quarter of 2016 saw numerous positive all-time records set in the four-county Asheville metro (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties).

Total employment, Hotel/Motel Sales, airport passenger traffic, the average home sale price and taxable retail sales are a few key economic indicators which reached new all-time heights in the quarter.

  • Asheville continued to add jobs through the third quarter of 2016, up 3,200 more jobs than one-year earlier, earning an average growth rate of 1.8 percent. Monthly year-to-year job growth has continued uninterrupted for slightly more than six straight years.
  • Total employment averaged 185,300 over the quarter; setting a new all-time third quarter employment number.
  • Averaging 4.0 percent over the third quarter of 2016, Asheville’s unemployment rate continues to hold well below both the state and nation. The metro has held the lowest unemployment rate in the state for twenty-eight of the last thirty months.
  • Third quarter job creation was concentrated in three major industry sectors. The top three gainers each broke all-time third quarter employment totals. Health Services, one of the three and the largest major industry in Asheville has experienced only two months with employment declines over the last 25 years.
  • Buncombe County Hotel/Motel Sales set a new all-time quarterly high of $100 million, registering a 15.7 percent gain over the third quarter of 2015.
  • Total Passenger Traffic at the Asheville Regional Airport equaled 249,617 in the third quarter of 2016; up 8.7 percent from a year earlier. The figure sets a new all-time quarterly passenger record for the Airport.
  • Existing homes sold in the third quarter totaled 1,186, while the average sales price equaled $321,090. The average sales price is the highest quarterly figure on record for the metro area.
  • Taxable retail sales collections in Asheville totaled $1,785,277,509 in the third quarter; 6.8 percent above collections for the same period one-year earlier. The total sets a new all-time record for retail sales in the metro.

For more detailed information in each of these categories, see the full report at the JPS web site.