Nashville, TN (2011-03-31) The jobless picture in Scott County improved in February; however, the local unemployment rate remains the highest in the state—a distinction the county has held for the last twelve months.
According to the latest statistics from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the unemployment rate for Scott County in February was 22.7%, a decrease of 0.5% over the month. Of the county’s estimated labor force of 8,450 persons, 6,530 were employed, leaving another 1,920 looking for work. While the number of jobless persons was still extraordinarily high, the number did decline in February, dipping 50 persons over the month. The estimated labor force, which unexpectedly jumped more than 300 persons last month, remained relatively stable in February, increasing by 40 persons. Despite the decrease, Scott County still has the highest unemployment rate in the state, a dubious honor the county has held since February 2010. A year ago, the jobless rate was 18.0 percent.
In counties contiguous to Scott, the unemployment rate likewise decreased. Morgan County experienced the greatest decline in joblessness, a 0.8 percentage point decline from 11.6 percent in January to 10.8 percent in February. Fentress County and Pickett County both saw unemployment decrease by 0.4 percentage point in February, dropping to 12.7 and 18.0 percent respectively. In Campbell County, the unemployment rate was 13.2 percent, a 0.2 percentage point decrease over the month. Anderson County experienced a 0.1 percentage point decline in February, dropping from 9.4 percent in January to 9.3 percent in February.
Across the state, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February 2011 decreased in 57 counties, increased in 26 counties and remained the same in 12 others.
Lincoln County registered the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, down from the January rate of 6.7 percent. Scott County had the state’s highest unemployment rate followed by Pickett County. Cocke County, Lauderdale County, and Marshall County were third, fourth and fifth in the ranking, all sharing a jobless rate of 15.9 percent. Counties in the top ten list of high unemployment were: Sevier County, 15.2 percent; Henderson County, 15.2 percent; Lewis County, 15.2 percent; Haywood County, 15.1 percent; and Perry County, 14.7 percent.
Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.6 percent, up from 7.5 percent in January. Hamilton County was 8.6 percent, down from 8.7 percent the previous month. Davidson County was 8.7 percent, up from 8.6 percent in January, and Shelby County was 10.5 percent, up from 10.4 percent in January.