Scott County unemployment increases slightly

Manager sitting with head in hands outside an elevator

After dropping to its all-time lowest point in September, Scott County’s unemployment rate was up slightly in October, according to a new round of employment numbers released last week by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

The local jobless rate increased from 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent in a month that saw 84 of Tennessee’s 95 counties follow a similar trend of increased unemployment.

While Scott County’s jobless rate remained significantly lower than at the same point last year — the October 2016 unemployment rate was 7.4 percent — the state’s numbers showed that that total employment was down by almost 100 jobs in October.

According to the state’s numbers, Scott County’s total employment dropped from 7,770 in September to 7,680 in October. The number of unemployed persons seeking work was up just slightly in October, from 310 to 320. The estimated local work force was 8,000, down from 8,080 a month earlier.

None of Scott County’s neighbors were able to buck the trend of increased unemployment in October. Pickett County saw the largest statistical increase, with its unemployment rate climbing four-tenths of a percentage point to 3.4 percent. Not far behind was Morgan County, where the unemployment rate was up three-tenths of a point to 4.1 percent.

In Fentress County, the unemployment rate was up two-tenths of a point to 3.7 percent. Anderson County also saw its jobless rate increase by two-tenths of a point, to 3.3 percent. Campbell County’s jobless rate was up just a tenth of a percent, to 3.9 percent.

Rhea County posted the state’s highest unemployment rate in October, at 5.4 percent. Lauderdale County was close behind at 5.3 percent. Bledsoe County had the state’s third-highest unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, while Houston and Benton counties rounded out the five highest unemployment rates, at 4.7 percent.

Also among the top 10 counties for unemployment in October were Weakley, Hardeman and Obion counties, at 4.6 percent, Stewart County at 4.5 percent, and McNairy County at 4.4 percent.

The state’s lowest unemployment rate was posted by Williamson and Davidson counties, which showed 2.2 percent joblessness in October. Rutherford County had the third-lowest unemployment rate, at 2.3 percent.

Cheatham, Wilson, Moore and Sumner counties each posted an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent. Rounding out the state’s 10 counties for lowest unemployment were Sevier County at 2.5 percent, and Knox and Smith counties at 2.6 percent.

Among major metropolitan areas, Nashville continued to show the way, with a jobless rate of 2.3 percent, unchanged from September. Knoxville’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, up slightly from September’s rate of 2.7 percent. Chattanooga had an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, also up two-tenths of a point from last month. Memphis, too, saw its unemployment rate increase by two-tenths of a point, to 3.7 percent.

While October couldn’t follow September’s record-setting mark, with all 95 counties across the state below five percent unemployment, it wasn’t far away, with 93 of the 95 counties posting jobless rates below five percent.

“To have so many counties under five percent unemployment as we head into the holiday season is a good thing,” said Tennessee Labor & Workforce Commissioner Burns Phillips. “It means more Tennesseans are able to provide for their families and that is the goal of Governor Haslam’s workforce initiatives.”

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