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Seasonal jobs impact January’s county unemployment rates

For the fourth consecutive month, unemployment in Tennessee stayed near historic low levels in January with only 3.5% of the state’s workforce unemployed, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 


However, the end of seasonal holiday jobs in January can be counted as one of the contributing factors that led to higher county unemployment rates across Tennessee for the month.


While statewide unemployment numbers are adjusted to consider the impacts of seasonal labor, county unemployment rates are not adjusted.


Each of Tennessee’s 95 counties experienced an increase in unemployment during January, according to data released yesterday.


80 counties reported rates less than 5%, while the remaining 15 counties had rates anywhere from 5% to 10%.


Williamson and Moore counties had the state’s lowest unemployment for the month. Both counties recorded rates of 2.5% in January.


At 9.9%, Perry County had the highest unemployment rate in the state. The county’s January number more than doubled its December rate of 4.5%.


Bradley County’s unemployment rate was 3.6% for January, up from December’s 3.1%.


Polk County’s unemployment rate was 4.3%, up from December’s 3.7%.


McMinn County came in at 4.5%, up from 3.9% in December. 


Rhea County, with the highest unemployment in our area, was at 5.1%, up from December’s rate of 4.3%.