The residual impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy may be beginning to rear its ugly head. After unemployment skyrocketed in March and April, then quickly began to settle, it has slowly increased the past two weeks — at least in Scott County.
According to the TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development, there were 737 unemployment claims filed in Scott County for the week ending July 4, including 74 initial claims and 663 continued claims. That’s up from 708 total unemployment claims two weeks earlier, and new claims have increased by more than 50% for the week ending July 4 vs. the week ending June 20.
Based on the state’s estimated work force for Scott County, which was just over 8,500 people in each of the last two months, the county’s current unemployment rate is likely somewhere around 9%. Scott County’s official unemployment rate for May was 11.2%, down significantly from the 17% jobless rate reported in April. The official unemployment rate for June will not be released for two more weeks.
Even with double-digit unemployment in May, Scott County still had a lower unemployment rate in May than Tennessee as a whole or the nation, as workers continue to slowly be called back after the coronavirus shutdown. A new surge in cases is causing some work places to close again, particularly places like restaurants and bars.
Tennessee’s initial jobless claims for the week ending July 4 increased for a third consecutive week, after falling for 10 consecutive weeks prior to that. There were 25,843 new jobless claims filed last week across the state.
The number of continued claims continues to drop statewide, though the rate of decrease is slowing. There were 256,645 continued unemployment claims filed last week, down a little less than 4,000 from last week, after continued claims dropped a bit more than 4,000 the week before that. For the week ending June 20, continued jobless claims were down nearly 14,000.
Total unemployment claims for the week ending July 4 were 282,488, down only about 2,000 from the previous week.
Based on the state’s estimated work force of 3.3 million people, the statewide unemployment rate is currently somewhere around 8.6% — similar to Scott County’s.
There are currently more than 197,000 job openings listed on the state’s jobs board, Jobs4Tn.gov, including more than 120 in or around Oneida.