By Bryan Stevens
Some good unemployment news might mean more people can enter the holiday shopping season with more confidence. New data revealed the employment situation continued to improve for a majority of Tennessee’s counties in October, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Unemployment rates decreased in 65 counties during the month, while they remained the same in 20 counties, and increased in ten counties. Unicoi County’s rate declined from 4.3% in September to 4.1% for October.
Ninety-three counties reported October jobless numbers lower than 5% and two counties had unemployment rates slightly higher than 5%.
Williamson County’s unemployment rate was the lowest of all the counties for the month. At 2.2%, its October rate dropped by 0.1 of a percentage point when compared to September. Moore County had the second-lowest rate at 2.3%, which was unchanged from the previous month.
While Perry County once again had Tennessee’s highest unemployment rate in October, the county’s jobless number showed significant improvement for the month. The latest statistics show its rate dropped 3.1 percentage points, from 8.4% to 5.3%. Shelby County had the second-highest rate, but it also showed month-to-month improvement, as it decreased from 5.3% to 5%.
Unicoi County’s rate remained slightly higher than numbers posted by adjacent counties, including Washington (3.1%), Carter (3.5%) and Greene (3.5%).
Statewide unemployment was lower for the fifth consecutive month. The new seasonally adjusted rate of 4.2% was 0.2 of a percentage point less than September’s revised rate of 4.4%.
The employment situation also improved nationally. The U.S. unemployment rate for October was 4.6%, down 0.2 of a percentage point from the previous month. State and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to factor in seasonal economic influences such as school breaks and severe weather conditions, while county unemployment rates are not.