By mtjulietintern

Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced Thursday unemployment rates in November remained low across the state and the vast majority of Tennessee counties continue to experience rates below 5 percent.

Davidson and Williamson counties tied for the lowest unemployment in the state with rates of 2.5 percent, a slight increase of 0.3 percentage points compared to October.

Eight of the 10 lowest county unemployment rates in November were in Middle Tennessee, with Knox and Sevier counties in East Tennessee rounding out the list. All counties in the top 10 had a rate below 3 percent and unemployment rates in 87 Tennessee counties remained under 5 percent in November.

“The economy remains strong in Tennessee, but we are not going to let up on our Drive to 55 to ensure our workforce is ready for the demands of employers in the years to come,” Haslam said. “And we’re keeping our focus on creating a business-friendly environment that will continue to attract jobs and make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Lauderdale County had the highest unemployment rate in November, at 5.5 percent, a 0.3 percentage point increase from the previous month. Rhea and Bledsoe counties both had rates of 5.4 percent, which represents a 0.1 percent increase for Rhea County and a 0.5 percent increase for Bledsoe County.

Wilson County’s unemployment rate in November was 2.7 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from October and a 1.1 percent decrease from the same time last year. Wilson County’s rate in November represented 1,880 unemployed workers compared to a 69,750-person workforce and does not include those who did not file with the labor department or no longer receive benefits.

Lebanon’s rate for November rose to 3.1 percent, a 0.2 percent increase from October. The city’s rate represented 460 unemployed workers compared to a 14,560-person labor force. 

Mt. Juliet’s rate for November landed at 2.6 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from October. The rate represented 450 unemployed workers compared to a 17,380-person work force.

The unemployment rate for Nashville-Murfreesboro metropolitan area, which includes Wilson County, remained at 2.3 percent in November. The rate represented 23,710 unemployed workers compared to a just more than 1 million-person workforce.

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate in November was 3.1 percent – 0.1 percent higher than October, but two percentage points lower than it was in November 2016.

The rate represented 98,400 unemployed workers compared to a 3.2 million-person workforce.

The national unemployment rate for November was 4.1 percent, unchanged from October. The national rate represents more than 6.6 million unemployed workers compared to a workforce of just more than 160 million people.

By Xavier Smith