County unemployment rate falls by nearly 1%

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Marshall County's unemployment rate went down by nearly 1 percent from July to August, according to the latest figures released by the state.

The reduction of .7 percent was from 12.2 in July to 11.5 percent in August, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday.

The county's downward trend is like that of 90 other counties, the state said.

"That was a little eye-opening because it's not that many that go down," said Mike Wiles, executive director of the local Joint Economic and Community Development Board.

Wiles also noted various reasons for changes in the size of the county's workforce. Those include people moving to and from the county.

"It could be people retiring, or their eligibility of unemployment benefits runs out, so a lot of them go back to work," said Wiles, who agreed there's always a combination of factors that influence economic trends.

Elsewhere in Tennessee, unemployment went up in two counties, and stayed the same in three.

Meanwhile, merchants are now in their third and most lucrative quarter of the year. Wiles hadn't pursued expectations about the upcoming Christmas shopping season, but he anticipates a better Christmas.

"I haven't heard that yet, but I bet we do," he said. "I know they're planning for it. For example, if a furniture store is to have a good stock, they've got to order things."

Nationally, the unemployment rate for August 2012 was 8.1 percent, 0.2 percentage points lower than the July rate. Statewide, the unemployment rate for August increased to 8.5 percent, up from the July revised rate of 8.4 percent. State unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events. The local figures released by the state have not been adjusted.

Marshall County's unemployment rate had been 11.4 percent in May and 12.2 percent in June and July.

Bedford County's rate went down from 10.4 in July to 9.2 in August. Maury County's rate went from 10.1 percent to 9.7 percent in those months, and Lincoln County continues to be the county with the lowest rate in the state at 5.7 percent in August, down from 5.8 percent in July. Williamson County has the second lowest rate at 6.9 percent, down from 7 percent.