June unemployment ticked up statewide in typical pattern

June unemployment ticked up statewide in typical pattern


The unemployment rate for each of Tennessee’s 95 counties increased in June 2018, according to data released today by Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips.

Unlike the statewide unemployment rate, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted to account for seasonal fluctuations such as yearly school closings.

And while Williamson County continued to have Tennessee’s lowest unemployment in June, the rate of 3.0 percent was 0.9 of a percentage point increase from its May 2018 rate.  The current rate for Williamson County is 0.1 of a percentage point lower than it was in June 2017.

Davidson County followed a similar pattern. With the state’s second-lowest unemployment figure, the rate of 3.1 percent was up from of 2.2 percent the previous month.

Sumner County also saw a 0.9 percent increase, from 2.4 percent in May to 3.3 percent in June.

“These increases in county unemployment rates are something we typically see in June,” said Phillips. “In fact, we’ve experienced this uptick every June since the state started keeping records in 1976.”

The county rates incorporate seasonal workers who are temporarily unemployed. Between May and June of this year, education service jobs were down by 38,000. These are custodians, bus drivers, and other school support staff who are not working during the summer months.

June is also typically the month when recent high school and college graduates enter the workforce and have yet to find employment, adding to the jobless count across the state.

Two small counties on opposite ends of Tennessee had the highest unemployment rates: Lauderdale (population 27,000) and Bledsoe (14,500).

Lauderdale County’s jobless rate of 7.0 percent is up 1.7 percent when compared to May. The county’s top employers are Marvin Doors and Windows, with just over 500 employees, and American Greetings, with 145.

Bledsoe County’s 6.6 percent, unemployment rate was up by 1.7 percent from the previous month’s figure. Top employers in Bledsoe County are FLX Industries, which assembles box trucks, Hubbard, one of the largest poultry hatcheries in the United States, and Life Line Foods, which makes high potency vitamins.

“These increases, while something we’d rather not experience, are right on par with last June,” Burns explained.  “When you look at the year-to-year comparisons for many counties, the rates are the same as they were this time last year.”

Tennessee had a seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 3.5 percent in June, which mirrored the rate from the previous month.  Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate experienced a slight increase to 4.0 percent, up 0.2 of a percentage point from May’s revised unemployment rate of 3.8 percent.

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