County Unemployment Rates Increase across the State in June

Nashville, TN (2017-07-27) Despite posting the lowest unemployment rate in state history earlier this month, county unemployment rates released on Thursday showed rates increased in every county across the state.  Scott County saw a significant upward shift in joblessness; however, it landed just one-tenth of a percentage point outside the top ten.

According to the latest statistics from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the unemployment rate for Scott County in June was 5.8 percent, up 1.6 percent over the month.  The increase was largely attributed to a significant increase in the estimated labor force, which changed from 7,810 in May to 7,930 in June.  The numbers show that the local job market shed just 10 jobs over the month, going from 7,480 in May to 7,470 employed workers in June.  However, the majority of those newly added to the labor force were hunting for work, as the number of jobless workers rocketed to 460 in June, an increase of 130 over the month.

“These figures most likely raised a few eyebrows when people first saw them, because May was such stellar month in Tennessee,” Commissioner Burns Phillips explained.  “But I looked at the county numbers for June 2016 and rates then were significantly higher than they are today.  So even with this current up-tick between May to June, Tennessee is still in far better shape than a year ago,” he surmised.

A year ago, the unemployment rate in Scott County was 8.0 percent, representing 620 jobless workers.

The unemployment rate increased in all 95 counties last month.  While the state reported the lowest jobless rate in history for June, it attributed the disparity to two factors.  First, county rates are not seasonally adjusted for temporary layoffs and employment shifts.  Secondly, June is typically the month when recent high school and college graduates enter the workforce and have yet to find employment, adding to the jobless count across the state.   The June increases weren’t unusual, as county unemployment rates from May to June have historically increased every year since the state began tracking employment data.

Of our nearest neighbors, Morgan County reported the largest increase in the jobless rate, climbing 1.8 percent over the month to 5.5 percent.  Anderson County’s jobless rate jumped to 4.6 percent in June, an increase of 1.6 percent.  Campbell County and Fentress County both reported increases of 1.5 percent over the month, reporting June rates of 5.5 and 5.2 percent, respectively.  Pickett County fared better than most, reporting a June rate of 5.0 percent, an increase of only 0.9 percent—one of the lowest increases in the state.

Davidson County has the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.1 percent, an increase from 2.1 percent during the prior month. Knox County’s rate is 3.7 percent, rising from 2.5 percent in May. Hamilton County rose from its previous month’s rate of 2.8 to 4.1 percent.  Shelby County has an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, an increase from May’s 3.4 percent.