White County jobless rates increase slightly for October

Posted By | December 2, 2019 1:29 pm

By Rachel Auberger

Newly released data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development show inconsistent changes in the unemployment rates oss the state.

The report indicates that while 38 counties experienced a decrease in unemployment rates during October, 33 counties had increased rates. The remaining 24 counties experienced no change in the employment rates of their labor forces.

White County’s jobless rate increased from 3.5 percent, in September, to 3.6 percent, in October. Van Buren County also saw a rise in unemployment from 3.8 percent, in September, to 4.3 percent, in October.

Putnam and Cumberland counties both had declines in their rates. Putnam decreased from 3.2 percent, in September, to 3.1 percent, in October. DeKalb County had the largest increase in unemployment in the surrounding area, with an increase of 1.3 percent, bringing their rate to 5.1 percent unemployment.

“It sounds odd, but 5 percent unemployment is considered full employment, so we are still having a labor shortage,” Marvin Bullock, Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce president, said. “Employers express that they can’t find employees, even though wages have gone up respectably. Also note that the percentage of unemployed is not based on the total county population but only those in the county of working age and able to work, thus a .1 increase means about one dozen more people are unemployed this month than were employed the same time last year.   Though no one wants to find themselves unemployed, I can’t remember a better time in White County to find a job. In fact, people have lots of choices.”

During most of October, employees at the General Motors manufacturing facility in Spring Hill, along with workers at several dozen automotive suppliers in surrounding counties, were not working, which caused unemployment rates in these areas to spike.

In Maury County, unemployment more than doubled, causing the county to have the second-highest rate in the state. It spiked 3.4 percentage points, going from 2.6 percent in September to 6 percent in October.

“Many different factors impact a county’s employment situation,” TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord said. “The vast majority of Tennessee’s counties had continued low unemployment in October. The ebb and flow of the statistics in several areas will likely return to more typical numbers in the coming months.”

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