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Top Regional News: Unemployment Rate Falls in Tennessee

Updated : June 12th, 2019

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.

Unemployment_Rate_Falls_in_Tennessee

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 Counties Unemployment Rate Fall in Percentage
Bradley 2.8 percent down 0.7 percent
Hamilton 2.9 percent down 0.7 percent
Franklin 3 percent down 0.7 percent
Coffee 3.1 percent down 0.5 percent
McMinn 3.3 percent down 1.0 percent
Polk 3.5 percent down 0.9 percent
Van Buren 3.5 percent down 0.8 percent
Marion 3.6 percent down 0.9 percent
Sequatchie 3.7 percent down 0.8 percent
Meigs 3.9 percent down 0.8 percent
Grundy 4.1 percent down 0.7 percent
Bledsoe 4.5 percent down 1.2 percent
Rhea 5.1 percent down 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

Rank County Pre. Rate (%)
1 Williamson 2.6
2 Davidson 2.7
3 Rutherford 2.9
4 Wilson 2.9
5 Sumner 2.9
6 Moore 3.0
7 Maury 3.0
8 Cheatham 3.1
9 Lincoln 3.1
10 Giles 3.1

Counties with the Highest Unemployment in Tennessee

Rank County Pre. Rate (%)
95 Rhea 6.6
94 Lauderdale 6.0
93 Cocke 5.9
92 Jackson 5.8
91 Bledsoe 5.7
90 Houston 5.5
89 Hancock 5.5
88 Scott 5.5
87 Stewart 5.4
86 Obion 5.4

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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  1. I am employed through Chesco Services as a Medical Assistant. My job requirements are to transport Consumers to doctor, dentist, eye, hospital, anything that requires medical attention Appointments. I have been out of work for 4 weeks now, being that All Appts. for Consumers were Canceled due to the Corona- Virus Pandemic. I work Part time 28 hrs. per week n am paid every 2 weeks.

    1. Jona,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here https://fileunemployment.org/coronavirus/

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  2. I was getting unemployment and i recieved a partial and now exhausted funds do i get to get an extension? I have tried 172x to call twf and can never get thru.

    1. Christine,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly. Please read more about the situation here https://fileunemployment.org/coronavirus/

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  3. I had filed for unemployment . It says pending, active. But don’t know if I am get it. I still have a job, but not working at this time.

    1. Claire,

      Please wait. There will be thousands of applications for the office to be processed. Make sure to check the status at regular intervals.

  4. My unemployment claim has been on hold for47 days with no contact people need this money what is going on!

    1. Craig,

      Please wait. There will be thousands of applications for the office to be processed. Make sure to check the status at regular intervals.

  5. I am having problems with unemployment. The first 2 weeks should be on the card I received but it has zero balance. It will not recognize my user name.

    1. Scott,

      Please note this is a private forum. Please wait for a response. There will be thousands of applications for the office to be processed. Make sure to check the status at regular intervals.

  6. I’m 75 years old and work Part time (24 hours per week). Because of my age I opted not to work because of the virus, am I eligible to able for unemployment. My job was at a liquor store and it’s small (close quarters) which was a concern. I was not laid off.

  7. i am a sole proprietor. i have a profit and loss statement. at year end i pay tax on profit. i do not pay myself a wage. under Covid 19 has an allowance been made that i could collect unemployment? if so, how do I begin? I cant claim under my business unemployment because i am not an employee. i do have employees that are collecting.

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