After across-the-board unemployment rate increases in June, 57 of Tennessee’s 95 counties saw their jobless rates improve in July. Scott County was not one of them, however; instead, the local unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.2 percent.
Scott County was one of 19 counties across the state with an unchanged unemployment rate last month, according to the latest round of data from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
After slight declines in the number of working Scott Countians from April to May and May to June, the number saw another slight decline from June to July. Total employment in July was 7,960, according to the state’s data, down from 8,060 in April. There were 20 fewer Scott Countians employed in July than in June. However, the unemployment rate was unchanged because the estimated work force declined slightly, from 8,420 to 8,400. The number of unemployed Scott Countians declined from 440 to 430.
“The summer months significantly impact the unemployment situation across the state,” said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips. “People are not working seasonal jobs, they’re out of town and not able to work, or they’ve just graduated and are looking for work. There are many factors that play a role in summer unemployment figures.”
Three of the five counties neighboring Scott County saw unemployment rates decrease in July, while a fourth, Campbell County, saw its unemployment rate remain the same at 5.4 percent. The exception was Pickett County, where unemployment was up three-tenths of a percentage point to 4.5 percent. Anderson County’s jobless rate declined from 4.5 percent to 4.4 percent, while the jobless rate was down two-tenths of a point to 4.9 percent in Fentress County, and down three-tenths of a point to 5.1 percent in Morgan County.
Statewide, eight of the 10 counties with the lowest unemployment rates are centered around Nashville, while the other two are Knox and Sevier counties. Most of the 10 counties with the state’s highest jobless rates are in West Tennessee, with the exception of Hancock County in East Tennessee and two southern Cumberland Plateau counties, Bledsoe and Rhea counties.
Williamson County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in July, at 2.9 percent, followed by Davidson County at 3.0 percent. Sevier and Cheatham counties, each posted unemployment rates of 3.1 percent, followed by Sumner, Rutherford and Wilson counties at 3.2 percent. The jobless rate was 3.4 percent in Dickson and Smith counties, while Knox County rounded out the Top 10 at 3.5 percent.
Weakley County had the state’s highest unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent, followed by Lauderdale and Bledsoe counties at 6.9 percent. The jobless rate was 6.6 percent in Houston County and 6.5 percent in Obion and Hancock counties. McNairy County’s unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, followed by Rhea County at 6.3 percent, Carroll County at 6.2 percent and Haywood County at 5.9 percent.
Among major metropolitan areas, Nashville continued to show the way, with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in July. Knoxville’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent for the month, followed by Chattanooga at 4.0 percent and Memphis at 4.7 percent.
The statewide unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in July, unchanged from May and June. The national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down one-tenth of a point from June.
Scott County’s unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in April and May was the lowest on record, dating back to 1973. The current unemployment rate remains half a percentage point below where it was at one year ago. In July 2017, the local jobless rate was 5.7 percent.