Unemployment unchanged here at 12.7 percent

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marshall County's unemployment rate was unchanged from January to February, according to statistics released Thursday.

The county's 12.7 percent jobless rate was the seventh highest in the state, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported.

Marshall County's unemployment rate was 12 percent in December last year. The release of Christmas season employees was given as a chief reason for the increased rate of nearly 1 percent as 2012 began.

February statistics show that the unemployment rate decreased in 75 counties, increased in 10 counties, and remained the same in 10 counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for February fell to 8 percent, down from the January revised rate of 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate for February 2012 was 8.3 percent, unchanged from the January rate.

The new numbers reflect another change. For more than a year, Lincoln County had the lowest unemployment rate, attributed largely to its proximity to Huntsville, the space program and a stable federal employer. However, now Williamson County can claim the lowest unemployment rate.

Williamson's rate is now 5.6 percent. Lincoln's is third lowest among Tennessee counties at 6.5 percent. Williamson County's unemployment rate had historically been low, attributed by officials there as a result of its population's higher level of education. That county, however, relies heavily on its retail base at Cool Springs and as retailing tanked during the recession, jobs there did, too.

Meanwhile, retail sales seem to be improving in Marshall County, according to sales tax figures noted by County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett who on Thursday afternoon sounded a cautious note as he and county commissioners approach the annual task of preparing another budget for local government operations.