Unemployment edges upward

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

UPPER CUMBERLAND – Unemployment across the region edged slightly upward according to recently released October numbers with DeKalb joining Clay in the top 10 highest rates of unemployment in the state.

DeKalb’s rate jumped 1.3 percentage points to a rate of 5.1%, just behind Clay’s rate of 5.2%. Both were significantly lower than the state’s highest rate of 8% belonging to Perry County. Perry catapulted to the highest rate with a 4.5 percentage point increase from the prior month’s rate of 3.5%.

Decatur, Lewis, and Marshall counties experienced similar spikes in unemployment during October.

“Many different factors impact a county’s employment situation,” said TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord. “The vast majority of Tennessee’s counties had continued low unemployment in October. The ebb and flow of the statistics in several areas will likely return to more typical numbers in the coming months.”

Five of the Upper Cumberland’s 14 counties experienced rate increases from the September numbers: DeKalb (5.1%), Warren (4.5%), Van Buren (4.3%), Pickett (3.8%), White (3.6%) and Macon (3.1%).

Clay, at 5.2%, dropped from second highest in September to sixth highest, while reducing unemployment by 0.4 percentage points. 

Cumberland (3.7%), Overton (3.0%) and Putnam (3.1%) also had slight reductions in their unemployment rate.

The remaining counties kept unemployment rates stable from the previous month: Cannon (2.9%), Fentress (4.0%), Jackson (3.9%) and Smith (3.7%).

Statewide, unemployment held steady in October. Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.4% matches the previous month’s rate and is only a slight increase from the 3.3% rate of a year ago.

Between October 2018 and October of this year, Tennessee’s nonfarm employment increased by 38,900 jobs. The most significant increases occurred in the leisure/hospitality, professional/business services, and trade/transportation/utilities sectors.

The latest statistics show the number of nonfarm jobs dropped by 5,100 between September and October of this year. The largest decreases occurred in the manufacturing, professional/business services, and other services sectors.

Nationally, unemployment experienced a slight uptick. October’s rate of 3.6 percent is 0.1 of a percentage point higher than September’s rate of 3.5 percent.

The statewide and national unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted to eliminate the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.

Michelle Price is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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