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Thread summary:

Economics: home price, gas prices, Tennessee, nursing,

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Old 06-27-2008, 04:34 AM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,044 posts, read 3,524,887 times
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Well here is my non-scientific casual economic indicators that I've seen here in East TN in my short time here.

Jobs - are available, albeit at low wages. $6.92 to work in a grocery store, $11 as a new LPN with 1 year degree, $19.50 new grad RN, $7.25 to work as a CNA in a hospital setting, just over $11 to work in county, state jails as guard. Most of your normal blue collar jobs $6.50 to $11. There are some jobs that are higher to be sure, just not all that common. I finally landed a job as a CNA, add the night diff and choosing to not accept any benefits, I'm just over $11 an hour.

Gas prices - $3.81 to $3.89 for reg unleaded is what I'm seeing. $3.78 at Walmart with their card. It's costing me $1.05 per hour, per shift to pay for the gas to get to work, if I only work a few hours, I in essence work for free as it costs about $13.00 round trip to get to work.

Home prices - I've been following several homes that are falling in price, down about 10% in prices, however, I've seen some homes priced really high. Sales, seems like the low end homes ARE selling, and the CLOSE IN homes are really selling. I've seen several brand new homes that are 10-15 miles from town sitting empty for about a year now. Land on the other hand seems to be going up in price. I've been looking at newer 1500-1800 sqft homes, mainly in the $149,900 to $179,900 price range, cheaper for older homes, but many of those homes are in bad shape from what I've seen. Prices are all over the place from cheap and crappy to nice and expensive. I figure the $150k price range for new homes, but unless you have a marketable skill it's hard to afford the homes with the prevailing wages.

Food - going WAY up - milk from $3.50 to $5.00 gallon, depending on brand and store. My wife takes care of the grocery buying normally, but I help sometimes. Even Ramen noodles are way up now, we've been forced to eat lots more of that stuff lately.

Work attitudes - varies from Great on my Cardiac care floor with the patients to Terrible going into stores. I walked out of White's grocery store today after listening to the cashier belittling the customer who was using food stamps to buy food, shameful.

Employers attitudes aren't much better, my wife is quitting her VERY low paying grocery job as of saturday, They pay her $7.62 (no benefits)and is expected to work EVERY weekend, she's doing the SAME work as she was in WA state as she is here, but her last job paid $18.35 WITH benefits and retirement. She wants to go to part time and have a least every other weekend off, so her employer was going to lower her pay to $6.92, so I told her to quit and take any other job. I made a comment to my boss that I was thinking of moving on as the work load is ridiculous (14 cardiac patients to try and take care of) her remark was that there were plenty of people hunting these CNA jobs (starting pay $7.25). I was making $25 per hour in my last job as a manager, but that's not TN's fault that I was stupid for quitting that and moving here ;-)

Overall assessment

TN is a wonderful place, very small for those used to larger places, even Johnson City is pretty small compared to a major town. Home prices are WAY cheaper than say Asheville, NC an hour away ($100k less??), but wages are WAY less as well.

IF you have substantial cash or equity in your home that you are selling elsewhere and/or have an extremely marketable skill, you'll have no problem making it here and will enjoy the area immensely. However, if you have not much savings and are just an average blue collar worker with no home equity to spend, I'd seriously consider the economic consequences of moving to East TN. You'll still enjoy the area, it just sucks being poor, especially in a historically poor region.....believe me, I KNOW it sucks here to be poor, I'm living it.

Good luck to all moving to East TN, it is nice here, I generally like it, having said that, would I do it again.....??? not sure, chances are no, but that's mainly due to my and my wife's lack of job prospects here. The area is nice, the economics of the area...not so much.

Tony

p.s. These are only my observations.....there are tons of different outlooks and observations and lots of people are doing well......your mileage may vary as with everything in life.

Last edited by Tony1790; 06-27-2008 at 04:45 AM..
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Piney Flats, TN
423 posts, read 1,233,181 times
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Tony, I'm sorry you've had a rough time making it financially. You're not unusual. I wonder why the regional development and business organizations are not luring new manufacturing and corporate headquarters to the tri-cities region? The airport is only regional, not international...that's probably one reason. But there's plenty of land to build on, and a decent workforce, especially for blue collar workers. What's holding this area back from drawing in new business - other than in the medical field? Anyone want to chime in on that?
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,486 posts, read 13,781,482 times
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Quote:
walked out of White's grocery store today after listening to the cashier belittling the customer who was using food stamps to buy food, shameful.
That's because you're in White's. It's not a regular grocery store. It's a low-life grocery store. You get what you pay for, that's true anywhere from Washington to Texas to Chicago to, yes, Johnson City. You might find the employees 'more friendly' at Kroger's.

Maybe you've caught me at a strange time, Tony, because usually I agree with you. And in my defense, I am feeling very crappy this week, something going on that feels like a mix of tonsillitis and strep. But it's not difficult to see the irony in your complaints of workers (like your wife) receiving 6.25~ an hour, and then complaints that those same low paid workers be expected to feed their customers some happy-go-lucky bs just to increase the good experience of their shopping trip. Come on.

Real economic difficulties, like other parts of your post, I agree with, but this kind of stuff is just silly. And even worse, it's not limited to Johnson City or east Tennessee. I don't know where you lived previously, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't some utopia as far as grocery store workers were concerned. I've ran into horrible and great employees all over the US and I expect I will in a few weeks when I go to Toronto, too.

That's the problem that people get into when moving here, because they've heard it's some great land, filled with "scenic vistas," houses for $80,000 and land for 2k an acre. Well, guess what, the cost of living *might* be lower here (not really, except in the case of some taxes), but our wages also go down, because we aren't a metropolitan area like Seattle, Austin or Boston. I, too, am sorry that you're having a financial tough go of it. We all are. That's why I'm in an apartment and, until recently, was working two jobs. I sincerely hope you researched the area well enough before you moved here to know what you were getting into.
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Old 06-28-2008, 07:33 AM
 
14,930 posts, read 26,635,658 times
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Tony - thank you for reinforcing the "Look Before You Leap" theory on moving here without having things better researched and lined up.

Many of us on this forum try to tell people that want to move here to have acceptable jobs lined up before they get here and to not look at this area with rose colored glasses and your real life assessment backs this up.

This area has its' own flavor, just like any other place. It will fit some people perfectly and others not so much.
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Piney Flats, TN
423 posts, read 1,233,181 times
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Tony, I read your post as valid observations, not as a judgment against the Tri-cities. Thanks for your take on your first year in the Tri-Cities and thanks for sharing your perspective, your life, your situation.

As JAB said, some of those observations hold true in other parts of America as well, and are a universal problem across the country. But I hear what you're saying: that in some other parts of America, the pay scale is high enough to compensate for the high gas and food prices, whereas it's not sufficient in the Tri-cities. I've heard others on these forums make that same observation.

I do have to say that people seem to be hard workers down here, and live more modestly in alignment with their income than in some other areas of the US. I see smaller homes, less of the pricey clothing and toys, and more of an ability to "make do" on less. Tennesseans are a scrappy lot. How does that country song go? "Country boy can survive..."

Oh, and I agree about Whites...YUCK. Dirty place with old food...double yuck.
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:13 PM
 
Location: NW PA
1,093 posts, read 416,237 times
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Tony, very interesting post. Yes, you may have made more money in WA, but every post I have read tells people not to expect the wages of your former state in TN. I think rural America is in a heap of trouble not just TN. When you moved there you weren't expecting $4 gas prices, but next year you may be looking back thinking how great this year was in comparison. SmokyMtGal almost had it right 'Look Before You Leap' add plan ahead for the unexpected.
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Old 06-28-2008, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,486 posts, read 13,781,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pineywoods View Post
Tony, I read your post as valid observations, not as a judgment against the Tri-cities. Thanks for your take on your first year in the Tri-Cities and thanks for sharing your perspective, your life, your situation.
I did, too, mostly, and I hope my (in hindsight, sort of snappy) response reflected that. If not, I'm sorry, Tony.

Quote:
I do have to say that people seem to be hard workers down here, and live more modestly in alignment with their income than in some other areas of the US. I see smaller homes, less of the pricey clothing and toys, and more of an ability to "make do" on less. Tennesseans are a scrappy lot.
I would agree. We're more in line with our historical past as simple/hardy pioneers. Again, not just in Tennessee - but states like TN tend to have more people like this than others *cough* California *cough* /
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Old 06-28-2008, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,044 posts, read 3,524,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
That's because you're in White's. It's not a regular grocery store. It's a low-life grocery store. You get what you pay for, that's true anywhere from Washington to Texas to Chicago to, yes, Johnson City. You might find the employees 'more friendly' at Kroger's.
True, I do not shop at White's normally and it was full of your "cliche's" pretty disgusting, as far as Krogers being "more Friendly" it's not about friendliness, it's about professionalism, and they are better (wife works there until saturday). She's the main one that decries the lack of customer service, from the manager down. She has over 15 years working in grocery stores from CA, WA, AK, and now TN. She say she's shocked at the attitudes that the employees can direct at customers, she "been there and done that" in many other areas of the country and it is "different here".

[/quote]Maybe you've caught me at a strange time, Tony, because usually I agree with you. And in my defense, I am feeling very crappy this week, something going on that feels like a mix of tonsillitis and strep. But it's not difficult to see the irony in your complaints of workers (like your wife) receiving 6.25~ an hour, and then complaints that those same low paid workers be expected to feed their customers some happy-go-lucky bs just to increase the good experience of their shopping trip. Come on.[/quote]

Yeah, you must be in some kinda crappy mood, because, "come on" it is their freaking job to make their customers feel at ease when spending what little money they do make at the store. Well here I'm being crabby As to low wages justifying bad attitudes, that can be true to an extent, low wages = low self esteem (my problem maybe??) but to openly belittle your customers, 3 feet way is stupid and rude and inexcusable. I make a base wage of $8.50 right now, will be going to $9.25 soon, I worked last night 12.5 hours without a break, wiping human feces, changing urine soaked beds, dealing with elderly patients with altered mental status, along with scared patients and demanding family members.....did I belittle them or be short with them?? NO, I busted my butt, and tried to make each and everyone of them as comfortable as possible, WHY, because it's not only my job, but the right thing to do!! (I've been on the receiving end of ridicule as a patient, it bites)

[/quote]That's the problem that people get into when moving here, because they've heard it's some great land, filled with "scenic vistas," houses for $80,000 and land for 2k an acre.[/quote]

That is indeed true in some parts of TN, but not close in to Johnson City.

Anyway, I wrote this post as an VERY unscientific view of what I'm seeing as someone originally from outside the area and a recent emigrant to this area. People are always asking what housing cost, what's gas cost, etc I just put what my recent experiences are. If you read the TN board or the WNC board on citi-data, it is usually just sickening sweet with not much interjection of reality. Just the normal "just do it" mantra.

To be fair, I'm a recent entrant back into the ranks of "don't make crap crowd" So to be fair, I may be sensitive to the economics of the area more than the big money machines that are more common in society now. Also, there IS a difference in attitudes with people in different parts of the country. People are generally nicer here than say WA state, but that doesn't always translate into the work place. That's not a judgement, just an observation.

What drew me to the area was....my mother lives here, also there is a really good amount of nursing programs to choose from here and yes housing is cheaper here.

Now before you attack the "big city" difference again, Asheville, NC is an hour away and is greatly more expensive than here in JC, Asheville's housing is more, gas is more, tax is more, but wages are more, not enough to compensate, but still more.

Overall I thought my post was mainly observations, without negative judgement, TN isn't bad, and it can even be great if you have money or a good job skill before you get here. But to be honest it is harder to make a decent living here unless you bring money with you. I just hate to see all of the rah rah without any real observations. My wife makes about $20,000 less per year doing the same exact work and I make about $20,000 here than I could make elsewhere, but that's my problem, not yours, I know!

I just posted a few observations, from one person, not an indictment of the state, anyway, I've got to go to work now, to make enough money to pay for my gas and pay the lights so that I can afford to waste my breath posting this message Sorry, I'm outta time to edit this message to lower the percentage of people that I pee off, only being slightly sarcastic, as I normally do reread my post, trying actually not pee off people, it's too, too easy to put out a wrong vibe with posts, this vibe on this post......is probably crap.......sorry in advance, I'll reread it tomorrow when I get off my 12.5 shift.

Tony
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Old 06-29-2008, 02:32 PM
HDL
Status: "Here's to finding common ground" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Seek Jesus while He can still be found!
3,090 posts, read 5,854,592 times
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Talking Count me in as a FAN of your posts Tony!

I've always found them quite helpful as I've considered making another move for job reasons . I've personally found posters on CDF way more helpful than fluff pieces put out in newspapers, magazines, and the NAR . And I've followed your journey since the beginning and was wondering how things had turned out for you and your family ??!

Please continue to share YOUR experiences, as I am certain that there are others like me who find your posts and adventures helpful !!

Best wishes Tony !

~HDL~
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,044 posts, read 3,524,887 times
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Hello all,

I thought that I would provide something that I find VERY positive here in East TN. There are tons of community colleges and universities that have training programs for Nursing, Radiology, etc, lots of health care related skills. Additionally there seem to be good skills training in other fields as well.

What's nice is the towns of Elizabethon, Bristol, Kingsport, heck even Asheville, NC are all within 1 hour of Johnson City. So if you come from an area that is more spread out with more traffic, this location is ideal for getting trained in a field (especially healthcare) as a 30 to 60 minute drive while going to school is very do able to further your education and marketability. If you can get the training to get a job at Eastman or NFS, they pay really well.

Where I was previously located, the traffic was so bad that there were on a school or two to attend within a reasonable commute, so East TN's abundance of school choices makes getting a marketable job skill much better.

If you have a marketable job skill (nursing, doctor, lawyer, welder, etc) and if you have at least a little money to get started, you WILL be able to live and thrive and enjoy East TN.

If I offended anyone with my observations, I apologize, I'm just reporting what I see from my perspective here, my experiences will be different from others. I was trying to be neutral in tone, I failed.

I like TN, really I do, but, economically I can see many people struggling and with the direction the economy and gas prices are going, many people are going to continue to struggle, myself included.

I just got off my 6:38 pm to 7:08 am shift and my brains not working so well, so I'll stop my rambling. (I deleted several rambling paragraphs off of here already, be glad you weren't forced to read them

Take care.

Tony
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