County Unemployment Rates Inch Up Statewide In June 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The unemployment rate increased in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties in June 2017, according to data released on Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, whereas the state unemployment rate is modified to account for seasonal fluctuations.

“We’ve seen this type of increase in the June county unemployment rates every years since the state started keeping records in 1976,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips.

The county rates take into account seasonal workers who are temporarily out of work. Between May and June, education service jobs were down by 35,100. These are custodians, bus drivers and other school support staff who are not working during the summer months.

June is also typically the month when recent high school and college graduates enter the workforce and have yet to find employment, adding to the jobless count across the state.

Davidson County has the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.1 percent, an increase from 2.1 percent during the prior month. Knox County’s rate is 3.7 percent, rising from 2.5 percent in May. Hamilton County rose from its previous month’s rate of 2.8 to 4.1 percent. Shelby County has an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, an increase from May’s 3.4 percent.

“These figures most likely raised a few eyebrows when people first saw them, because May was such stellar month in Tennessee,” Commissioner Phillips said. “But I looked at the county numbers for June 2016 and rates then were significantly higher than they are today. So even with this current up-tick between May to June, Tennessee is still in far better shape than a year ago.” Tennessee experienced a record low for June’s preliminary state unemployment rate, falling four-tenths of percentage point to 3.6 percent, while the national rate rose to 4.4 percent. Both figures are seasonally adjusted.

The Economic Analysis and Labor Force Estimates are prepared by the Employment Security division’s labor market information specialists. The division reports metrics and contextual information as it relates to employment, income, and population in Tennessee. Labor force topics are narrated in monthly newsletters and additional resources are available on The state unemployment release for July 2017 will be published on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 1:30 p.m. CT.

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