County Decreases Follow Historic Low August Statewide Rate of 3.3 Percent
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that unemployment rates decreased last month in all 95 counties and significantly dropped in many rural counties, which often have the highest unemployment rates in the state. The county figures were released one week after the state posted an August statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent – the lowest in recorded history.
“To see a decrease in each and every county across Tennessee is quite an accomplishment and a sign of our state’s financial strength,” Haslam said. “Our historic low unemployment rate is a reflection of Tennessee’s policies – we’re a low tax state that encourages business investment and we don’t have a lot of debt, which allows businesses to thrive and create jobs.”
This is the third time in 2017 in which county unemployment rates decreased statewide. The rates also dropped in all 95 counties in February and April.
“What’s most impressive is how much the unemployment rate has dropped in our rural areas – several counties have seen a nearly three percent decrease over the last 12 months,” Phillips said.
While Rhea County has Tennessee’s highest unemployment rate at 6 percent, its August 2017 figure decreased by a full percentage point from the previous month, and some 400 new jobs are being created there by Nokian Tyre. The company announced earlier this year it was locating its first North American manufacturing facility in Dayton, Tenn., and Haslam on Wednesday joined company officials and county and city leaders there to break ground on the future site.
Davidson and Williamson counties have the state’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.7 percent. Davidson County dropped three-tenths of a percentage point from July, while Williamson County’s rate was down four-tenths of a percentage point. Nine of the state’s lowest unemployment rates can be found in middle Tennessee counties. Sevier County is also among the top 10 lowest in the state.
The August unemployment rate is less than 5 percent in 81 Tennessee counties. Fourteen counties have unemployment rates for the month ranging from 5.1 and 6 percent.
The August statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent was down one-tenth of a percentage point from July while the preliminary U.S. unemployment rate increased last month one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.4 percent.
The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.
Additional information from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, including resources to help Tennesseans find jobs can be found at Jobs4TN.gov.