The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced unemployment rates in nearly all of Tennessee’s counties decreased in August. This marks the second consecutive month the joblessness has decreased in 93 or more of the state’s 95 counties.
The two that remained the same rate or higher include Williamson County and Maury County. The rate in Williamson County remained unchanged from July at 2.6%. Although unchanged, Williamson County continued to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rate in August. Unemployment increased in Maury County from 4.2% to 4.5% in a month-to-month comparison.
Seventy-nine counties recorded unemployment rates of less than 5% for the month. The remaining 16 counties had August rates of 5% or greater, but less than 10%.
Shelby County had the month’s highest unemployment rate at 6.7%. While it was the highest in the state, the county’s new rate represented a 0.8 of a percentage point decrease from July. Unemployment in Perry County was the second highest at 6.6%, but that accounted for a 4 percentage point drop from its July rate of 10.6%.
Statewide, unemployment improved for the third consecutive month in August. The rate ticked down from 4.7% to 4.6%.
Previously, TDLWD announced that unemployment statewide fell 3.5 percentage points lower than the same reporting period in 2020:
Employers brought an additional 4,400 employees into the workforce between July and August. The manufacturing sector had the largest increase in employment, followed by the mining/logging/construction sector, and then the government sector.
Between August 2020 and August 2021, employers across Tennessee increased the state’s workforce by 121,600 jobs. The professional/business services sector accounted for the largest percentage of that growth. The leisure/hospitality sector added the second-largest number of jobs, followed by the trade/transportation/utilities sector.
Unlike the statewide and national unemployment rates, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted to factor in economic influences such as school breaks and severe weather conditions.
Tennessee will release the statewide unemployment rate for September on October 21.
Nationally, the economic recovery is still in a slow but steady climb to get back to pre-pandemic unemployment levels. Back in May 2020, Tennessee’s unemployment rate hit its highest point ever at 14.7% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]