Scott County’s unemployment rate dropped more than a percentage point between July and August, to 8.7%, according to new data released Thursday by the TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development.
The local jobless rate was 9.9% in July.
The declining unemployment rate was part of a statewide trend; jobless rates declined in 94 of 95 counties during the month of August, and is now back into single digits in all but three counties.
The unexplainable swings of Scott County’s data, as presented by the Dept. of Labor, continued in August. The estimated work force increased by more than 500, from 7,903 to 8,418. Likewise, the number of employed Scott Countians increased by more than 500, from 7,128 to 7,682.
The upward movement of the numbers counters a similarly inexplicable downward trend from earlier this year. In June, the number of working Scott Countians dropped from 7,562 to 7,190, according to the state’s data.
Even with the coronavirus pandemic taken into account, 2020 has featured unusually wild swings in the state’s monthly jobless data. The IH has reached out to the Dept. of Labor for explanation, but those requests have gone unanswered.
According to the Dept. of Labor, there were 736 people unemployed in Scott County in August, down from 775 in July.
Scott County’s jobless rate topped out at 17.5% in April, the first month of the pandemic. It was 6.4% the month before the pandemic began, with an estimated work force of 8,430 and employment of 7,894. In other words, Scott County’s employment is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. However, 2020 had featured a rising jobless rate even before the pandemic — from 3.7% in December to 6.4% in March.
Among neighboring Tennessee counties, Anderson County’s jobless rate dropped from 8.3% to 7.0% in August, Campbell County’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.6% to 7.1%, Fentress County’s dropped from 7.7% to 6.6%, Morgan County’s dropped from 7.7% to 6.9%, and Pickett County’s dropped from 6.3% to 5.2%.
A list of the state’s 10 lower and 10 highest jobless rates continued to reflect the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Typically, urban areas have lower unemployment rates than rural areas. However, the state’s lowest jobless rates since April have been in rural areas where the job markets were impacted by a lesser extent than in their urban counterparts.
Pickett County’s jobless rate, typically one of the state’s highest, was second-lowest only to Moore County, at 5.1%, in August. Williamson County had the state’s third-lowest unemployment rate, at 5.3%, followed by Overton County at 5.5%, Chester and Smith counties at 5.8%, Hickman County at 6.0%, and Crockett, Cannon and Johnson counties at 6.1%.
Shelby County had the state’s highest unemployment rate, at 13.4%, followed by Haywood County at 11.4%, Davidson County at 10.4%, Lauderdale County at 9.9% and Lake County at 9.6%. Hardeman and Cocke counties had unemployment rates of 9.5%, followed by McNairy County at 9.3% and Benton and Grundy counties at 9.1%.
Among the state’s major metropolitan areas, Chattanooga had the lowest jobless rate in August, at 6.6%, followed by Knoxville at 6.9%, Nashville at 8.3% and Memphis at 11.8%.