• Seasonal employment results in uptick for county jobless rates

    By Staff Reports -

    NASHVILLE – The unemployment rate for each of Tennessee’s 95 counties increased in June, according to data released Thursday by Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips.

    Unlike the statewide unemployment rate, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations such as yearly school closings.

    “These increases in county unemployment rates are something we typically see in June,” said Phillips. “In fact, we’ve experienced this uptick every June since the state started keeping records in 1976.”

    The county rates incorporate seasonal workers who are temporarily unemployed. Between May and June, education service jobs were down by 38,000. These are custodians, bus drivers and other school support staff who don’t work 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.

    Wilson County ‘s rate of 3.3 percent – a 1 percent increase from May – was the fifth lowest in the state behind Williamson, Davidson Sumner and Sevier counties, respectively and dropped from fourth lowest in May. 

    Wilson County’s rate in May represented 2,400 unemployed workers compared to a 73,060-person workforce and does not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits.

    Lebanon’s rate for June fell to 3.7 percent, a 1.1 percent increase from May’s revised rate. The city’s rate represented 570 unemployed workers, compared to a 15,320-person labor force. 

    Mt. Juliet’s rate for June was 3.1 percent, a 0.8 percent increase from May’s revised rate. The rate represented 580 unemployed workers compared to an 18,630-person labor force. 

    The rate for the Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, increased 0.9 percent from May to land at 3.2 percent in June. The rate represented 34,110 unemployed workers compared to a 1.05-million-person labor force. 

    Tennessee had a seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 3.5 percent in June, which mirrored the rate from the previous month.

    Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate experienced a slight increase to 4.0 percent, up 0.2 of a percentage point from May’s revised unemployment rate of 3.8 percent. 

    Williamson County continued to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment in June with a rate of 3.0 percent, which represented a 0.9 of a percentage point increase from the May rate.  The current rate for Williamson County is 0.1 percent lower than it was in June 2017.

    Davidson County experienced the state’s second lowest unemployment figure with a rate of 3.1 percent, up from of 2.2 percent the previous month.

    Lauderdale County had the most unemployed residents in Tennessee during June.  Its jobless rate of 7.0 percent is up 1.7 percent when compared to May. Bledsoe County had the second highest unemployment in the state last month. At 6.6 percent, unemployment in the county grew by 1.7 percent from the previous month’s figure.

    “These increases, while something we’d rather not experience, are right on par with last June,” Burns said. “When you look at the year-to-year comparisons for many counties, the rates are the same as they were this time last year.” 

    The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, along with other recurring seasonal events that could impact an economic times series.

    Tennesseans who seek employment will find a variety of resources at jobs4tn.gov.

    Tennessee officials released the July statewide unemployment rate Aug. 16.

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