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Unemployment Rates Decrease in Majority of Tennessee Counties

NASHVILLE – Most of Tennessee’s 95 counties started 2021 with lower unemployment numbers, according to data released by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Seventy-eight counties began the new year with a decrease in unemployment. The jobless rate remained the same in seven counties and increased in ten counties.

Rates in 24 counties came in under 5.0 percent for the month. The remaining counties, 71 out of the 95, have rates higher than 5 percent, but less than 10 percent.

Statewide, unemployment was down in January. Tennessee started 2021 with a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.1 percent, down 0.5 of a percentage point from December.

The national unemployment rate for January is 6.3 percent, down 0.4 of a percentage point.

Weakley County’s unemployment rate of 4.7 percent for the month of January was 0.4 percent less than it was in December, when unemployment registered 5.1 percent. It was 1.6 percent lower than the national rate of 6.3 percent, and 0.4 percent less than the state average of 5.1 percent. Out of a total countywide labor force of 15,545 workers, 14,813 Weakley Countians were employed and 732 were unemployed.

Carroll County’s jobless rate was 6.2 percent for January, which represents an increase of 0.2 percent from the previous month’s rate of 6.0 percent. It was 0.1 percent below the national rate and 1.1 percent higher than the state average. Out of a total countywide labor force of 12,134 workers, 11,382 were employed and 752 were unemployed.

Gibson County registered 5.4 percent unemployment for the month of January, which is 0.5 percent less than the previous month. The jobless rate was 0.9 percent lower than the national rate, and 0.3 percent higher than the state average. Out of a total countywide labor force of 21,884 workers, 20,705 were employed and 1,179 were unemployed.

Henry County recorded a jobless rate of 6.1 percent for January, which is 0.3 percent below December’s rate of 6.4 percent. It was 0.2 percent less than the national rate and 1.0 percent more than the state average. Out of a total countywide labor force of 13,426 workers, 12,611 were employed and 815 were unemployed.

At 6.5 percent, Obion County’s jobless rate for January decreased by 0.3 percent from December’s rate of 6.8 percent. Unemployment was 0.2 percent more than the national average, and 1.4 percent above the state rate. Out of a total countywide labor force of 12,350 workers, 11,547 were employed and 803 were unemployed.

The Northwest Tennessee Economic and Community Development Region, which includes Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties, registered an average unemployment rate of 5.8 percent for the month of January, which represents a decrease of 0.2 percent above December’s rate of 6.0 percent. At 4.7 percent, Weakley County had the lowest jobless numbers in the region. The Northwest Tennessee Economic and Community Development Region has a combined labor force of 106,386. Of this number, 100,222 were employed and 6,164 remained unemployed.

Total non-farm employment decreased by 2,100 jobs between December 2020 and January 2021. The largest decreases occurred in the leisure/hospitality sector, followed by the government and professional/business services sectors.

Over the year, non-farm employment is down 122,800 positions across the state. The hardest-hit jobs sectors were leisure/hospitality, education/health services, and government.

Nationally, seasonally adjusted unemployment also decreased in January. The new rate of 6.3 percent is 0.4 of a percentage point lower than December’s revised rate of 6.7 percent. In a year-to-year comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate is 2.8 percentage points higher than it was in January 2020.

Tennesseans searching for employment can find over 230,000 job openings for every skill level, in every area of the state, on They can also utilize the service matcher, which can help remove barriers to employment by matching the job seeker with services from several state agencies. The service matcher is located within the virtual American Job Center at

Job seekers can also visit the Tennessee Virtual American Job Center (VAJC). The website, located at, allows Tennesseans to research different programs, from different state agencies, that can help them remove barriers to employment so they can more easily reenter Tennessee’s workforce. The VAJC allows job seekers to do this on their schedule, anytime, anywhere.



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