Data Dictionary

Learn more about the data sources in Tracking Tennessee's Economy:

Data Definitions

Seasonal adjustment

Seasonal adjustment is accomplished by the BERC using the X11 statistical routine.

Labor force, total employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate

Labor force, total employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  These figures include the self-employed.  This data is based on a monthly survey of households, including several hundred households surveyed in Tennessee.

Nonfarm employment

Nonfarm employment is obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nonfarm employment is based on a survey of employers performed monthly. Only employers liable for payroll tax are included. This has the effect of excluding the self-employed and certain other categories of employment.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance

Initial claims for unemployment insurance are obtained from the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor. Claims are reported weekly by the ETA for the U.S. and each state. We report a monthly figure consisting of an average of weekly data.

Single-family and total permits

Single-family and total permits are obtained from the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau collects this information monthly from all permit-issuing jurisdictions. The Bureau may employ imputations to estimate missing data.

Real estate transfer tax

Real estate transfer tax collections are obtained from monthly reports posted on the Tennessee Department of Revenue website. The tax is 0.37% of the value of a real estate transaction ($0.37 per $100 value). Thus, the taxes collected can change due to a change in the number of transactions or a change in the average value of property transferred.  Since collections can be volatile, we report a trend that smooths out the short-term peaks and dips.

Sales tax collections

Sales tax collections are obtained from the Tennessee Department of Revenue and include collections from the application of the state sales tax rate only, excluding local option sales tax collections. Out-of-state sales are included in the figures for Tennessee (state total) but are not included in the figures for the MSAs. Collections can suddenly rise or dip due to refunds for retailers that overpaid or settlements related to underpayment. Since collections can fluctuate for reasons unrelated to underlying sales activity, it is better to examine trends rather than month-to-month changes.


Construction Data

The BERC reports construction data (building permits) only for the counties for which data is available.

Geographic Definitions

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) definitions are used to describe the geographic boundaries for the cities for each of the economic indicators, with one exception: sales tax collections. MSA definitions typically include a collection of one or more counties within commuting distance of the central city. Some MSAS include counties beyond the state boundaries. For example, the MSA definitions for Memphis, Chattanooga, Clarksville, and Kingsport-Bristol include counties in other states.

Sales tax collections data pertain only to Tennessee counties.

Metropolitan Area Definitions

Asterisk denotes counties not included in the sales tax collections figures.

Chattanooga, TN-GA Metropolitan Statistical Area

Catoosa County, GA*

Dade County, GA*

Walker County, GA*

Hamilton County, TN

Marion County, TN

Sequatchie County, TN

Clarksville, TN-KY Metropolitan Statistical Area

Christian County, KY*

Trigg County, KY*

Montgomery County, TN

Stewart County, TN

Cleveland, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area

Bradley County, TN

Polk County, TN

Jackson, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area

Chester County, TN

Crockett County, TN

Gibson County, TN

Madison County, TN

Johnson City, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area

Carter County, TN

Unicoi County, TN

Washington County, TN

Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area

Hawkins County, TN

Sullivan County, TN

Scott County, VA*

Washington County, VA*

Bristol City, VA*

Knoxville, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area

Anderson County, TN

Blount County, TN

Campbell County, TN

Knox County, TN

Loudon County, TN

Morgan County, TN

Roane County, TN

Union County, TN

Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area

Crittenden County, AR*

DeSoto County, MS*

Marshall County, MS*

Tate County, MS*

Tunica County, MS*

Fayette County, TN

Shelby County, TN

Tipton County, TN

Morristown, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area

Grainger County, TN

Hamblen County, TN

Jefferson County, TN

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area

Cannon County, TN

Cheatham County, TN

Davidson County, TN

Dickson County, TN

Macon County, TN

Maury County, TN

Robertson County, TN

Rutherford County, TN

Smith County, TN

Sumner County, TN

Trousdale County, TN

Williamson County, TN

Wilson County, TN

Updated as of 2018 values from the U.S. Census Bureau.