Williamson County in June lost its longstanding “lowest unemployment” status to neighboring Davidson County.
Not only was Davidson, at 3.1 percent, the major metropolitan county in the state with the lowest unemployment, it also switched places with Williamson County (3.2 percent) on the charts.
The unemployment rate increased in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties in June 2017, according to data released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).
In May, Davidson registered a 2.1 percent unemployment rate, compared to Williamson’s 2.0 percent.
“We’ve seen this type of increase in the June county unemployment rates every years since the state started keeping records in 1976,” Labor Commissioner Burns Phillips said in a press release announcing the numbers.
The county rates take into account seasonal workers who are temporarily out of work. Between May and June, education service jobs were down by 35,100. These are custodians, bus drivers and other school support staff who are not working during the summer months.
June also is typically the month when recent high school and college graduates enter the workforce and have yet to find employment, adding to the jobless count across the state.
Among major metropolitan counties, Knox County’s rate was 3.7 percent, rising from 2.5 percent in May. Hamilton County rose from its previous month’s rate of 2.8 to 4.1 percent. Shelby County had an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, an increase from May’s 3.4 percent.
“These figures most likely raised a few eyebrows when people first saw them, because May was such stellar month in Tennessee,” Commissioner Phillips explained. “But I looked at the county numbers for June 2016 and rates then were significantly higher than they are today. So even with this current up-tick between May to June, Tennessee is still in far better shape than a year ago.”
Tennessee experienced a record low for June’s preliminary state unemployment rate, falling four-tenths of percentage point to 3.6 percent, while the national rate rose to 4.4 percent. Both figures are seasonally adjusted.