Unemployment up across region, state

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

NASHVILLE – Although the nation and the state of Tennessee are seeing the lowest unemployment rates since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper Cumberland region saw rising unemployment numbers in every county reported for December, according to numbers recently released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The state saw unemployment increase in 87 of its 95 counties. 

Reasons for the increase in unemployment differs between the state and the region. 

The state attributes their increased rate to an increase in the unadjusted labor force participation. 

The state’s labor force increased by 23,075, while the number working only increased by 16,024. 

The Upper Cumberland only saw its labor force increase by five workers, while the number working decreased by 667. The labor force increased in nine counties with Smith gaining the largest increase at plus 95 workers. Five counties saw a shrinking work force with Van Buren losing 13, Overton losing 33 and Pickett losing 35. Fentress and Warren saw large losses losing 115 and 114 workers, respectively. 

Clay saw the highest unemployment at 5.3%, with Cumberland (4.6%) and Van Buren (4.4%) closely trailing.

Unemployment across the remainder of the region also rose slightly with Cannon (2.8%), DeKalb (3.7%), Fentress (3.8%), Jackson (3.6%), Macon (3.0%), Overton (3.0%), Pickett (3.6%), Putnam (3.2%), Smith (2.9%), Warren (3.9%) and White (3.3%).

Unemployment across the region averaged 3.6%, slightly below the nation’s 3.7% rate. The state rate was 3.3%.

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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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