New data released by the TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development on Thursday morning showed 58 initial unemployment claims and 646 continued unemployment claims in Scott County for the week ending June 20.
Thursday’s round of data marked the first time that the Dept. of Labor has released county-level weekly claims data since coronavirus-related joblessness began to spike in March.
Because the new data is the first available for Scott County and lacks additional data for comparison references, it’s difficult to glean much insight from it on how the jobless situation is progressing at the local level. The Dept. of Labor was set to release May’s county unemployment data later Thursday afternoon.
Scott County’s unemployment rate for April was 17.5%, a number that is expected to have shown decline in May. However, that May data will be nearly six weeks old when it is released Thursday afternoon. The data for the week ending June 20 is more timely, but doesn’t paint the entire picture of what Scott County’s jobs picture looks like.
While the local work force often varies from month to month and is sometimes arbitrarily estimated, Scott County’s work force for April was estimated at 8,506. A total of 704 unemployment claims would be 8.3% of that number. Scott County’s unemployment in April was 1,490. However, the number of unemployed included in the state’s monthly reports doesn’t necessarily include only the active unemployment claimants, based on the Dept. of Labor’s past explanations of the formula it uses to determine joblessness.
Additionally, the May unemployment report that is set for release Thursday afternoon will almost certainly include a higher unemployment rate than is actually present in Scott County in mid June, since workers are slowly but somewhat steadily returning to their jobs.
Statewide, initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 20 increased for the first time in 11 weeks, even as continued unemployment claims continued to decline.
There were 21,155 initial claims for the week. That was up from 19,925 the previous week, though still lower than the 21,417 initial claims for the week ending June 6. Before the pandemic began, there were fewer than 3,000 initial claims in a week.
There were 266,596 continued jobless claims for the week ending June 20, down from 280,593 the previous week. Tennessee’s continued unemployment claims have dropped for six consecutive weeks.
The state’s May unemployment rate, released last week, was 11.3%, down from an all-time high of 15.5% in April. Based on the current claims, Tennessee’s current unemployment is somewhere around 9%.