Top Regional News: Unemployment Rate Falls in Tennessee

Updated : November 2nd, 2022

Tennessee was the 16th state in 1796 and is today bordered by eight states and the Mississippi River. Also known as the Volunteer State, it is home to over 6.6 million people and has its capital in Nashville. Other counties with large populations include Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville. The median household income is $47,275 which is slightly lower than the national average. On the other hand, the poverty rate is at 16.7% which is 10% higher than the US rate.


Tennessee’s jobless rate is well below the comparable US rate of 4.2% and lower than Georgia’s 4.5% rate in September 2017. This is the lowest monthly rate in Tennessee since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking information since January 1976. The best takeaway is that unemployment is down nearly 2 percentage points from last year.

The average weekly earnings for manufacturing workers in Tennessee has grown from $11.51 to $830.19 since August. Though Tennessee factory workers got sizable increases in their paychecks than the nationwide average gain of $2.53 per week. Tennessee’s manufacturing wages since August was lesser than the US average at 5.7%.

Chattanooga’s unemployment fell to its lowest level in 16 years since August as employers in the six-county region added nearly 7,800 jobs since last year. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development express that the jobless rate in May fell by half a percentage point to 3.3%. This is the lowest that it has been since May 2001. Employment has grown 3.2% in the past year in Chattanooga and added 7,793 net new jobs in the region. This has enabled Tennessee to have a jobless rate of 4.1% which is down by 0.2% and below the US unemployment rate of 4.7% which was indicated last month and noted as the lowest since April 2001.

Unemployment Down Across All Tennessee Counties

Name of CountiesUnemployment RateFall in Percentage
Bradley2.8 percentdown 0.7 percent
Hamilton2.9 percentdown 0.7 percent
Franklin3 percentdown 0.7 percent
Coffee3.1 percentdown 0.5 percent
McMinn3.3 percentdown 1.0 percent
Polk3.5 percentdown 0.9 percent
Van Buren3.5 percentdown 0.8 percent
Marion3.6 percentdown 0.9 percent
Sequatchie3.7 percentdown 0.8 percent
Meigs3.9 percentdown 0.8 percent
Grundy4.1 percentdown 0.7 percent
Bledsoe4.5 percentdown 1.2 percent
Rhea5.1 percentdown 1.5 percent

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Across all 95 counties in Tennessee, unemployment rate since April 2017 has decreased. These results were published by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Last year, eight counties had an unemployment rate of above 6% but since April 2017 the entire state has reached a formidable level. TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips expressed that there was still work to be done to ensure that Tennessee is putting people to work.

Top 10 Counties with the Lowest Unemployment Rate

RankCountyPre. Rate (%)

Counties with the Highest Unemployment in Tennessee

RankCounty Pre. Rate (%)

Comparison from 2008 Economic Turmoil

The 2008 Economic turmoil had serious repercussions in America. Employment in the US peaked till February 2008. After which employment continued to see a free fall nationally until February 2010 where there was a slow recovery. The decline, however, ended earlier in Tennessee during mid-2009 and this continued to bottom out for close to a year before the consistent recovery in April 2010. This recovery was a whole two months later than the national recovery. Even after 5 years since the recession by December 2012, US employment was still at 2.4% less than the previous peak and Tennessee was 2.5% less. Construction employment did not bottom out in 2008 in Tennessee but only did two years later. Though construction has seen some improvement, it would take another four to five years to return to its previous peak.Unlike other recoveries, there is a slow recovery in this sector. Employment in the information sector has been falling since 2001. Hiring was flat from 2003 to 2007 and the recession sent it into further decline. Employment in IT has declined by 17.3% in Tennessee since the early 2008 peak as compared to the national 12%. The information industry includes publishing industries, software publishing, motion picture and sound recording industries, broadcasting and telecommunications industries, information services and data processing industries.

Though employment has remained stable in the US and seen a significant dip in the jobless rate, Tennessee has remained strong and unemployment levels have dropped significantly. If you are still unemployed then you can try the Benefits Calculator to figure out the benefits that you are eligible for.

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