Unemployment rates decrease for White and Van Buren counties
By Bobby Lee McCulley | September 28, 2017 6:42 am
Unemployment figures recently released by the state show that all of Tennessee’s 95 counties experienced a drop in their unemployment rates.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips also announced the state has seen a significant drop in many rural counties, which often have the highest unemployment rates in the state.
For White County, the unemployment rate dropped significantly from 4.5 percent in July to 3.9 percent in August. This was a decrease of 0.6 percent in a one-month period, a decrease of 1.5 percent this time last year.
As for comparison for White County’s neighbors, Putnam County has one of the lowest rates in the Upper Cumberland, at 3.7 percent, a 0.6 percent decrease from last month. DeKalb County has one of the highest rates at 4.5 percent, which is still an improvement from their 5.3 percent rate last month.
In Van Buren County, the unemployment rate saw a decrease from 5.0 percent last month to 4.4 percent, in August. This was a decrease of 0.6 percent in a one-month period and a decrease of 1.6 percent this time last year.
The newest report of county unemployment rates was released one week after the state posted a statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, in August. The August statewide unemployment rate is 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 all of Tennessee’s 95 counties experienced a decrease in their unemployment rates. The rates dropped statewide in February, April, and now in August.
“What’s most impressive is how much the unemployment rate has dropped in our rural areas – several counties have seen a nearly 3 percent decrease over the last 12 months,” Phillips said.
As a comparison to nearby counties, Warren County’s unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, which is down from 4.6 percent last month. Bledsoe County continues to battle with slightly higher unemployment rates, with 5.3 percent. However, this is an improvement from last month, which was 6.6 percent.
Nearby Rhea County has Tennessee’s highest unemployment rate at 6 percent, but its August 2017 figure decreased by a full percentage point from the previous month. Some credit can be given to the 400 new jobs that are being created by Nokian Tyre.
The company announced earlier this year it was locating its first North American manufacturing facility in Dayton. Haslam recently joined company officials, as well as county and city leaders, in Dayton, 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 of the 95 Tennessee counties. Fourteen counties have unemployment rates for the month ranging from 5.1 percent 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.