The economic outlook for Sevier County is favorable according to University of Tennessee Professor Dr. Donald Bruce who delivered the keynote address at the Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday. Bruce spoke about the economic forecast of the East Tennessee region.
Prof. Bruce detailed the financial status of East Tennessee delivering both good and alarming news relating to the dynamics of the local economy.
The good news is there is no recession in the economic forecast and, despite a sluggish economy, the Sevier County economy is expected to see three percent growth. The surprising news is the expected population growth forecast by the professor. According to Bruce, by the year 2040 Sevier County is expected to see a 44 percent increase. The current population is approximately 70,000. By the year 2040, the expected population is more than 100,000.
“The town already has traffic problems,” said Bruce. “Imagine where they will put all those cars.”
The expected population increase will create logistical problems, such as adequate roads and schools, but will create new opportunities in construction as building houses and other public services will create job opportunities.
Building permits for construction have increased 28 percent since last year. Currently, Sevier County ranks #4 in the eastern sector of the state for new permits. After the Great Recession, the sale of light vehicle sales plummeted. Currently, they have responded to pre-recession levels.
The job market is improving dramatically and is now at the pre-recession level. While this indicates job growth, Bruce said it means that six years of job growth before the recession were wiped out and the Volunteer State is back where it started. Currently, the job market in Sevier County is growing at a faster rate than all other counties in East Tennessee except Loudon County.