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Scott County’s unemployment rate steady to end 2019

The 2019 calendar year ended with Scott County’s unemployment rate steady, according to a new round of figures released last week by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

Scott County’s jobless rate was 3.7 percent in December, the Department of Labor said, unchanged from November’s rate of 3.7 percent.

The key statistics were nearly unchanged across the board from November to December. The estimated local work force was 8,676 in December, virtually unchanged from 8,677 in November. The number of working Scott Countians was 8,355 in December, again virtually unchanged from November’s number of 8,357. And the number of unemployed workers rose by just one, from 320 to 321.

Scott County was one of 28 counties across the Volunteer State — out of a total of 95 — to report an unchanged unemployment rate in December. The unemployment rate increased in 55 of 95 counties, and decreased in just 12 counties.

Scott County is one of 84 counties across the state with an unemployment rate of less than 5 percent as the year ended. The last time the local jobless rate was above 5 percent was July, when it was 5.3 percent for two consecutive months.

The unemployment rate was steady across the Cumberlands region. Of the 28 counties featuring unchanged unemployment rates in December, three bordered Scott County: Anderson County, at 3.1 percent unemployment, Campbell County, at 4.2 percent unemployment, and Morgan County, at 3.5 percent unemployment.

In Fentress County, the jobless rate rose just a tenth of a percentage point, to 4.2 percent. Pickett County experienced the largest unemployment rate increase, up three-tenths of a point to 4.5 percent.

The state’s lowest unemployment rate in December was found in Williamson County, at 2.2 percent, followed by Davidson, Rutherford and Cheatham counties, at 2.3 percent. Rounding out the five lowest unemployment rates was Wilson County, at 2.4 percent, followed by Sumner and Knox counties at 2.5 percent, Sevier County at 2.6 percent, and Robertson and Dickson counties at 2.7 percent.

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On the other end of the spectrum, Lincoln County and Clay County shared the state’s top unemployment rate, at 6.2 percent, followed by McNairy County at 6.0 percent. The jobless rate was 5.5 percent in Rhea County and 5.4 percent in Meigs County, followed by 5.3 percent in Hardeman County, 5.2 percent in Cumberland County, 5.1 percent in Bledsoe and Hancock counties, and 5.0 percent in Lauderdale County.

Rising unemployment seems to be a concern in the central Cumberland Plateau region, where four of the state’s 10 highest unemployment rates are found bunched together in Cumberland, Bledsoe, Rhea and Meigs counties.

Among major metropolitan areas, Nashville continued to post the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.4 percent, followed by Knoxville at 2.9 percent, Chattanooga at 3.3 percent, and Memphis at 3.9 percent.

The statewide unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in December, unchanged from November. The national unemployment rate was also unchanged, at 3.5 percent.

Scott County’s year-over-year unemployment rate was down slightly, from 3.9 percent in December 2018.

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