Unemployment rate inches up in August to 16%

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Marshall County continues to have the second highest unemployment rate in Tennessee, according to figures released on Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.8 percent, up from 19.4 percent in July, followed by Marshall County at 16.0 percent, up from July's rate of 15.7 percent, the department said in its monthly report.

Meanwhile, the governor's allocation of $3 million in economic stimulus funds to pay the wages of people hired by local businesses and government runs out at the end of September. Money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being spent in Marshall County because for three months in a row, it had the highest rate of unemployment in the state. That was early this year. Ironically, the county's highest unemployment rate -- 20.3 percent -- was at a time when the county had the second highest rate in the state.

Official reports on the unemployment rate in October -- when the so-called stimulus workers will either continue at their jobs because employers have found them worthy and needed, or be laid off -- won't normally be issued until late November.

Now, statewide statistics reveal that unemployment went down during August in 46 counties, while it went up in 33. Sixteen counties' unemployment rates were unchanged.

The national unemployment rate for August was 9.6 percent, the same as Tennessee's, and more than 6-1/2 percentage points lower than the rate in Marshall County.

To the south of Marshall County, Lincoln County retained its designation as the county with the lowest unemployment rate. The 6.4 percent unemployment rate there was unchanged from July. Local observers attribute the low unemployment rate to Lincoln's proximity to Huntsville, Ala., where the space program and military spending spur growth.

Monthly unemployment figures come with statistics on the size of a county's labor force, the number of people eligible to work, and a number for the people who are unemployed. The latter figure reveals the percentage of the labor force that is without a job.

For example, Marshall County has a labor force of 12,160 people. Of that total, 10,220 have jobs and 1,950 are unemployed.

In Maury County 30,530 people have jobs while 5,180 are unemployed in a workforce of 35,720, thereby revealing an unemployment rate of 14.5 percent.

Bedford County has a workforce of 22,200 of which 19,570 are working and 2,630 are not, thereby revealing an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent.

The Giles County unemployment rate is 13 percent, or 1,670 people jobless in a total workforce of 12,830.

Rutherford County has a workforce of 134,620, but 11,610 of them aren't working, so the county's unemployment rate is 8.6 percent.

Lincoln County's workforce consists of 16,970 people, of which 15,880 are working and 1,090 are unemployed. The unemployment rate is 6.4 percent.

Williamson County had been see as a county where the unemployment rate was usually the lowest, but the nation's recession, recently declared over for statistical reasons, has also affected the affluent Middle Tennessee County where the workforce is 89,330 and 83,080 people have jobs. There were 6,240 Williamson County residents who were unemployed in August. The rate there was 7 percent.

Metropolitan Nashville, Davidson County has a workforce of 331,130 people and during August 299,560 of them were working. The number of unemployed people living in Davidson County last month was 31,570, a number that exceeds Marshall County's population.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, up from 7.5 percent in July. Davidson County's rate was 9.5 percent, up from 9.3 percent. Hamilton County was 8.7 percent, up from 8.4 in July, and Shelby County was 9.9 percent, unchanged from the previous month.