Only 2.5 percent jobless in county

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Marshall County found itself in uncharted territory on Friday.

Thatís the day that the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released their preliminary unemployment numbers for May, placing the county at ninth in the state with a 2.5 percent unemployment rate.

Marshall County surged into the top 10 among Tennesseeís lowest unemployment counties, dropping seven-tenths from Aprilís 3.2 unemployment figure.

Nine of the top 10 counties for employment are in the middle Tennessee region.

Williamson County tops the list with a rate of 2.0 percent, followed by Davidson at 2.1.

Wilson County is third at 2.2 percent, followed by Sumner and Cheatham at 2.3 and Rutherford and Maury at 2.4 percent.

Marshall County is at ninth spot in the list at 2.5, between Knox County and Dickson County with the same rate.

The number fell even as the countyís workforce grew slightly.

The state data shows the county labor force grew by 10 individuals to 15,650 since Aprilís report, but the number of employed grew by 120 to 15,260.

That leaves by the stateís estimates only 390 unemployed in Marshall County for the month.

The Tribune contacted Lewisburg Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe on Friday before he had received the numbers from the state.

Tellingly, Lowe was speechless when presented with the news.

He had an idea, he said, that the number was getting very low, but he had no idea that it would fall quite so far.

According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, this is the lowest unemployment rate for Marshall County since April, 2000. That month, as well as May 1999, the rate also reached 2.5 percent.

A remarkable turnaround for a county where the rate was 20.2 percent as recently as June of 2009.

This marks a second consecutive month with a similar drop as well. The March number for the county was 3.9 percent.

On top of this, Lowe added, Minth Group, who recently announced a new automotive component manufacturing location in Lewisburg, has not yet begun hiring for a workforce they estimate to number roughly 200 employees.

Overall the economic news for the state is positive. Only Rhea County has an unemployment rate above 5 percent at 5.1.

The overall state unemployment rate is 4 percent, three-tenths under the national figure of 4.3 percent. Tennesseeís rate mirrored the county by dropping seven-tenths of a percent from April to May.