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Home News Local News Jobless rate declines by 1.2% as labor force hits 19-year low

Jobless rate declines by 1.2% as labor force hits 19-year low

Scott County’s unemployment rate declined 1.2 points in April, one of the largest declines in the state between March and April.

According to figures released by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Thursday, Scott County’s jobless rate was 16.1 percent in April, down from March’s seasonally revised rate of 17.3 percent and the lowest since November, when the local jobless rate briefly plunged to 15.3 percent.

While 62 of Tennessee’s 95 counties posted decreased unemployment rates in April, only seven reported decreases of one percentage point or greater, with Sevier County’s 1.6 percent decline leading the way.

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[s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)]According to the state’s figures, Scott County’s civilian labor force was estimated at 7,930 in April, a 19-year low. Of those, 6,650 were gainfully employed in April, while 1,270 were unemployed — the lowest number of workers recorded as unemployed in 12 months.

Total employment increased by 50 jobs between March and April, while the number of persons counted as unemployed declined by 110.

According to monthly data maintained by the state, Scott County’s estimated work force in April was at its lowest point since December 1994, when the estimated labor force dropped to 7,790 for a single month. The local labor force has been below 8,000 since February, which marked the first time since August 1998 that the labor force here was under 8,000. The February-April estimates mark the first time since 1993 that Scott County’s estimated labor force has been below 8,000 for three consecutive months. Prior to 1993, when the nation was recovering from steep economic recession, Scott County’s estimated work force was never consistently above 8,000.

Meanwhile, state data showed that April’s unemployment improvements were more modest in counties surrounding Scott.

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Pickett County posted the largest unemployment rate decrease among those counties, dropping a half-point to 13.2 percent. Campbell County’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.6 percent to 10.3 percent, while Fentress County’s rate declined from 9.3 percent to 9.1 percent. Anderson (7.7 percent) and Morgan (10.2 percent) counties posted jobless rate decreases of one-tenth of a percentage point.

Among the state’s major metropolitan counties, Knox County continued to show the way with the lowest unemployment rate, despite an increase of two-tenths of a point, to 6.4 percent. Davidson County’s unemployment rate increased three-tenths of a point to 6.5 percent. Hamilton County’s unemployment rate in April was down a tenth of a point to 7.5 percent in April, while Shelby County’s jobless rate dropped three-tenths of a point to 9.2 percent.

Scott County continued to have the state’s highest unemployment rate, followed by Lauderdale County at 13.5 percent. Pickett County’s unemployment rate was third-highest. Gibson County (12.4 percent) and Hancock County (11.8 percent) rounded out the top five.

Williamson County continued to post the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 5.3 percent, followed by Lincoln County at 5.6 percent.[/s2If]

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