Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced Thursday unemployment rates decreased last month in all 95 counties and significantly dropped in many rural counties, which often have the highest unemployment rates in the state.
The county figures were released one week after the state posted an August statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent – the lowest in recorded history.
“To see a decrease in each and every county across Tennessee is quite an accomplishment and a sign of our state’s financial strength,” Haslam said. “Our historic low unemployment rate is a reflection of Tennessee’s policies – we’re a low tax state that encourages business investment, and we don’t have a lot of debt, which allows businesses to thrive and create jobs.”
This is the third time in 2017 in which county unemployment rates decreased statewide. The rates also dropped in all 95 counties in February and April.
“What’s most impressive is how much the unemployment rate has dropped in our rural areas – several counties have seen a nearly three percent decrease over the last 12 months,” Phillips said.
Wilson County’s unemployment rate in August was 2.9, a 0.4 percent decrease from July and June. In August 2016, the county’s unemployment rate was 4 percent.
Davidson and Williamson counties boasted the lowest unemployment rates with 2.7 percent, followed by Wilson, Rutherford, Sevier and Sumner counties with 2.9 percent unemployment rates.
Wilson County’s rate in August represented 2,000 unemployed workers compared to a 69,350-person workforce and does not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits.
Lebanon’s rate for August decreased to 3.3 percent, a 0.4 percent drop from July. The city’s rate represented 470 unemployed workers compared to a 14,470-person labor force.
Mt. Juliet’s rate for August landed at 2.8 percent, a 0.2 percent decrease from July. The rate represented 480 unemployed workers compared to a 17,280-person work force.
The unemployment rate for Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, decreased to 2.9 percent, a 0.4 percent drop from July. The rate represented 28,840 unemployed workers compared to a just more than one million-person workforce.
Tennessee’s unemployment rate for August shrunk 0.1 percent from July and landed at 3.3 percent. The statewide rate represented 103,300 jobless workers compared to a 3.15-million-person workforce.
The national unemployment rate for August was 4.4 percent, a 0.1 percent increase from July. The national rate represents more than 7.1 million unemployed workers compared to a workforce of about 160 million people.
By Xavier Smith