BY DAVID FISHER
NASHVILLE (December 22) — The employment situation improved in a majority of Tennessee’s counties during November, according to data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This comes after the statewide unemployment rate returned to pre-pandemic levels for the month.
Eighty-five counties recorded lower unemployment rates in November, while five counties saw no movement with their rates, and the remaining five counties experienced a slight increase in unemployment.
Statewide, Tennessee experienced lower unemployment for the sixth consecutive month. With a November seasonally adjusted rate of 4.0 percent, down 0.2 of a percentage point from October, the state matched its pre-pandemic unemployment levels. In March 2020, the state’s rate was 4.0 percent and then spiked to an all-time high of 15.8 percent the next month.
Nationally, unemployment also improved in November. The seasonally adjusted rate for the month was 4.2 percent, down 0.4 of a percentage point from the October rate of 4.6 percent.
The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to factor in seasonal economic influences such as school breaks and severe weather conditions, while county unemployment rates are not.
Unemployment Declines in Weakley and Neighboring Counties
Unemployment in Weakley County during the month of November was 2.9 percent, which represents a 0.3 percent decline from the previous month’s rate of 3.2 percent. It was1.3 percent lower than the national rate and 1.1 percent below the state average. This amounts to a decline of 1.8 percent since November 2020, when the jobless rate was 4.7. Out of a total countywide labor force of 15,677 workers, 15,221 were employed and 240 were unemployed.
In neighboring counties, Carroll County reported an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, down 0.5 percent from the previous month’s rate of 3.7 percent. It was 1.0 percent lower than the national rate and 0.8 percent below the state average. This amounts to a decline of 2.3 percent since November 2020, when the jobless rate was 5.5 percent. Out of a total countywide labor force of 11,908 workers, 11,525 were employed and 383 were unemployed.
Gibson County’s jobless rate for November was 3.1 percent, which represents a decline of 0.3 percent from the previous month’s rate of 3.4 percent. These figures indicate jobless numbers were 2.3 below the unemployment rate in November 2020, when they registered 5.4 percent. Out of a total countywide labor force of 21,702 workers, 21,024 were employed and 678 were unemployed.
Henry registered 3.4 percent unemployment, which is down 0.3 percent from the previous month’s rate of 3.7 percent. Unemployment was 0.8 percent lower than the national rate and 0.6 percent below the state average. The report indicates unemployment fell by 2.2 since November 2020. Out of a total countywide labor force of 13,202 workers, 12,756 were employed and 446 were unemployed.
At 3.6 percent, Obion County’s unemployment rate for November fell 0.2 percent from the previous month, and it was 2.4 percent less than in November 2020. Unemployment was 0.6 percent below the national average and 0.4 percent less than the state rate. Out of a total countywide labor force of 11,993 workers, 11,567 were employed and 426 were unemployed.
At 3.7 percent, Benton County’s unemployment rate dipped 0.4 percent below the previous month. This represents a decline of 2.2 percent over the past year, when unemployment was at 5.9 percent. Benton County recorded 0.5 percent below the national unemployment rate, and 0.3 percent below the state rate. The labor force in Benton County for October totaled 6,558. Of this number, 6,318 were employed and 240 remained unemployed.
Northwest Tennessee Economic and Community Development Region
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 3.3 percent for the month of November, which is 0.3 percent less than the previous month’s jobless rate of 3.6 percent. The Northwest Tennessee Economic and Community Development Region has a combined labor force of 104,983. Of this number, 101,541 were employed and 3,442 remained unemployed.
Business owners increased employment across the state by 4,900 jobs between October and November. Tennessee’s leisure and hospitality sector accounted for the largest number of hires during the month. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector, along with the manufacturing sector, had the next highest number of new jobs.
Over the year, nonfarm employment grew by 87,800 jobs in Tennessee. The largest gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors.
Resources Available to Find Job Openings
While the state’s unemployment numbers have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, many Tennesseans are still searching for good, steady employment. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers a variety of services that can help individuals land their next job. With more than 100 American Job Centers across the state and Jobs4TN.gov with its 410,000 job postings, assistance is available online or in person. www.TNWorkReady.com is the site where all those services are listed and made easily available to job seekers.