Unemployment up across state

Tennessee rate higher than national rate for first time since Nov. 2016

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

NASHVILLE – Unemployment is up across the state with every county in Tennessee seeing higher unemployment numbers for June. Clay County, after three consecutive months having the highest unemployment rate in Tennessee, dropped to second as Hancock County had the highest rate at 7.7 percent.

For the first time since Nov. 2016, the national unemployment rate is below the state rate, despite the national rate increasing from 3.6 percent to 3.7 percent. 

Nationally, although the number of unemployed persons increased in June by 87,000 to 6 million,total nonfarm labor payroll employment increased by 224,000. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing. 

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate experienced an uptick in June. The current statistic is 3.4 percent, up 0.1 of a percentage point from the previous month. The state reached its all-time low unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in February and it remained at the level for three consecutive months. The number of unemployed statewide rose by 2,832 to 112,232 while the labor force increased by 14,240 to 3,336,840.  

“No one likes to see unemployment increase in every county across the state,” said TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord. “But the rates typically increase this time of year because we see a lot of seasonal unemployment during the summer months, mostly because school is not in session.”

Although the Upper Cumberland’s unemployment is up 1.2 percentage points from the previous month, the current rate of 4.6 percent is the same as it was in May 2018. The number of unemployed in the U. C. rose by 1,833 to 7,083 while the labor force increased by only 445 to 153,725.  

Clay County’s unemployment rate is up 2 percentage points to 7.4 percent. That figure is also up 2 percentage points from June 2018. Clay’s rate is 2 percentage points higher than both Jackson and Van Buren counties rates of 5.4 percent.

Smith (3.7 percent), Macon (3.9 percent) and Cannon (4.0 percent) counties were all at or below the state’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.0 percent.

DeKalb (4.8 percent) and White (4.4 percent), while both seeing an increase of more than 1 percentage point, were below their rates from one year ago, while Overton and Putnam counties both had unemployment rates of 4.4 percent, matching their rates from June 2018. 

Rates across the remainder of the U.C. include Cumberland (4.9 percent), Fentress (5.2 percent), Pickett (4.5 percent) and Warren (5.2 percent).

County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, while the state and national rates use the seasonal adjustment to eliminate outside influences on the statistics. 

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