Scott County's unemployment rate was mostly stead in the first month of the new year, ticking up slightly to 15.9 percent.

Numbers released by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Thursday afternoon showed that the local jobless rate increased slightly from December's seasonally-adjusted rate of 15.8 percent. Scott County was one of 49 counties across the state with an unemployment rate increase during the December-to-January reporting period.

According to the state's figures, the local work force was estimated at 7,610 in January, continuing a trend of decline. The work force was estimated at 7,680 in December.

January's labor force estimate was the lowest since December 1993, when it dipped to 7,560 briefly.

The number of employed workers in Scott County was 6,400 in December, the state agency said. That number was down sharply from December's 6,480, and represents the lowest employment total since June 1993, when 6,310 employed workers were reported in Scott County. According to figures distributed by the state, employment in Scott County has dropped by 540 workers over the past 15 months.

The number of unemployed workers, meanwhile, was 1,210 in January, up slightly from 1,200 in December.

Scott County's unemployment rate remained the state's highest, ahead of Pickett County's 13.2 percent in January. Lauderdale County posted a 12.3 percent jobless rate in January, while Stewart County's jobless rate was 12.0 percent. McNairy and Gibson counties each posted unemployment rates of 11.6 percent.

Williamson County maintained the state's lowest jobless rate, at 4.5 percent, followed by Lincoln County at 4.9 percent and Cannon County at 5.1 percent. Sumner, Rutherford and Wilson counties all posted 5.3 percent unemployment rates.

Among neighboring counties, Anderson County saw its unemployment rate decrease from 7.1 percent to 6.8 percent in January, while Campbell County's unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.1 percent, Fentress County's was unchanged at 8.0 percent, and Morgan County's was unchanged at 9.5 percent. Pickett County's rate of 13.2 percent marked a six-tenths of a point increase from December's rate of 12.6 percent.