Scott County’s unemployment rate dropped sharply in September, to 6.3%, according to the TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development.
That’s a decline of 2.4 percentage points from August, when local joblessness was at 8.7%, and it’s a slightly lower jobless rate than before the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Scott County’s unemployment rate at that time was 6.4%, the third-highest in the state.
The September numbers are based on an estimated local work force of 8,187, of which 7,675 were employed and 512 were unemployed during federal surveys in September.
Despite the decreased unemployment rate, total employment was essentially unchanged between August and September. There were 7,682 Scott Countians counted as employed in August. Instead, the September decline came mostly through a reduction in the number of unemployed workers and the estimated local work force.
As a result, employment in Scott County remains somewhat below where it was before the pandemic, even as the jobless rate has dropped back to pre-coronavirus levels. There were 7,894 Scott Countians employed in March, before the coronavirus shutdown.
One year ago, in September 2019, there were 8,336 people employed in Scott County. The jobless rate at that time was 3.9%.
Joblessness dropped all across Tennessee in September, with decreased unemployment rates posted in every Tennessee county.
Pickett County had the state’s third-lowest jobless rate, at 3.7%, down from 5.2% in August. Elsewhere around the region, the unemployment rate was 5.0% in Anderson County, down two percentage points from August. It was 5.2% in Campbell County, down from 7.1% in August. Fentress County had a jobless rate of 5.0%, down from 6.7% in August. And Morgan County posted a jobless rate of 4.8%, down from 7.0% in August.
While Scott County’s unemployment rate was down significantly, it was still perilously close to being one of the 10 highest jobless rates in Tennessee. Shelby County posted the highest jobless rate in the state for September, at 9.9%, followed by Haywood County at 8.6% and Lauderdale and Davidson counties at 7.5%. Cocke and Hardeman counties each had unemployment rates of 7.1% in August, followed by Lake County at 7.0%. Rounding out the 10 highest unemployment rates for the month were McNairy and Madison counties at 6.8%, and Meigs County at 6.6%.
Moore County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in August, at 3.2%, followed by Williamson County at 3.6% and then Pickett County. Overton County’s unemployment rate was 4.2%, followed by Hickman and Smith counties at 4.3%. Rounding out the 10 lowest unemployment rates for the month were Johnson, Chester, Crockett and Cannon counties, at 4.4%.
Among major metropolitan areas, Knoxville had the state’s lowest jobless rate in September, at 4.7%, followed by Chattanooga at 5.1%, Nashville at 5.9%, and Memphis at 8.9%.
There were only 23 new unemployment claims filed in Scott County last week, according to the Dept. of Labor. There were 199 continued claims. Based on the estimated work force for September, the 222 unemployment claims filed last week would represent a current unemployment rate of about 3%. However, unemployment rates aren’t configured based on unemployment claims alone.