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Jobless rate inches up across the state

Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 9:47 am

The unemployment rate increased in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties in June, according to data released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, whereas the state unemployment rate is modified to account for seasonal fluctuations.

“We’ve seen this type of increase in the June county unemployment rates every year since the state started keeping records in 1976,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips.

The county rates take into account seasonal workers who are temporarily out of work. Between May and June, education service jobs were down by 35,100. These are custodians, bus drivers and other school support staff who are not working during the summer months.

June is also 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.

Lincoln County’s jobless rate was 3.9 percent in June, up 1.4 percent over the previous month’s rate. In June of last year, the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent here.

Rates in surrounding counties also increased in June. Bedford County’s rate of 4.8 percent was up 1.4 percent over the previous month, while Coffee County’s rate rose 1.0 percent, up to 4.1 percent in June. Franklin County’s June rate was 4.3 percent, up 1.4 percent over the month, and Giles County’s rate was 4.0 percent in June, up 1.3 percent from May.

Moore County registered a June unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, up 1.2 percent from May, while Marshall County’s jobless rate in June, at 3.8 percent, was up 1.3 percent over the previous month.

Davidson County had 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 was 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 had an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, an increase from May’s 3.4 percent.

“These figures most likely raised a few eyebrows when people first saw them, because May was such stellar month in Tennessee,” Commissioner 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.”

Tennessee experienced a record low for June’s preliminary state unemployment rate, falling four-tenths of percentage point to 3.6 percent, while the national rate rose to 4.4 percent. Both figures are seasonally adjusted.