Nearly all Tennessee counties continued to have unemployment rates below 5.0 percent in October 2017, following a record-breaking September when, for the first time ever, each of the state’s 95 counties experienced a rate below 5.0 percent.
October marked the fifth consecutive month Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate was in record territory, matching the all-time low of 3.0 percent set the month before.
“To have so many counties under 5.0 percent unemployment, as we head into the holiday season, is a good thing,” said Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips. “It means more Tennesseans are able to provide for their families and that is the goal of Governor Haslam’s workforce initiatives.”
Nationally, 16 states have unemployment rates at or below 3.0 percent, with North Dakota at 1.7 as the lowest, and Hawaii’s 1.9 percent close behind. The District of Columbia, with 6.9 percent, and Alaska, with 6.7, were the highest, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Williamson and Davidson Counties continue to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.2 percent. Williamson County’s rate increased by 0.1 percent in October, while Davidson County’s rate held steady compared to the previous month. Rutherford County’s rate was also unchanged at 2.3 percent.
Cheatham, Wilson, Moore, and Sumner Counties each had a rate of 2.4 percent. That represents at 0.1 percent increase for Cheatham, Wilson and Sumner Counties and 0.1 percent decease for Moore County. Sevier County’s unemployment rate remained at 2.5 percent in October. Knox County increased by 0.1 percent to 2.6 percent and Smith County’s rate remained the same at 2.6 percent.
While two counties saw an increase above the 5.0 percent threshold, their rates are still below 5.5 percent. Rhea County has the state’s highest unemployment at 5.4 percent, up from 4.9 percent in September. Lauderdale County’s rate increased to 5.3 percent, from 4.6 percent the previous month.
Looking at the entire state, October unemployment rates decreased in four counties, remained the same in seven counties and increased in 84 counties. Ninety-three of Tennessee’s 95 counties continue to have unemployment rates below 5.0 percent.
The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted, while the county rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.
Additional information about the Tennessee’s labor statistics can be found at Jobs4TN.com.