Steep declines in unemployment reported across the state.

Following the lowest state unemployment rate in nearly 20 years, Tennessee’s county unemployment rates for May 2017 have decreased in 94 counties and remained the same in 1, according to data released today by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).

Davidson County has the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 2.1 percent, a decline from 2.7 percent during the prior month. Knox County’s rate is 2.5 percent, decreasing from April’s 3.1 percent. Hamilton County declined from its previous month’s rate of 3.6 to 2.9 percent while Shelby County has an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, a decrease from 4.4 percent in April.

“We continue to see a substantial drop in the unemployment rate of our metropolitan areas, which is great,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “But the most encouraging numbers are coming from Tennessee’s distressed counties, many of which saw a significant drop in their unemployment rates.”

Rhea County’s 5.1 percent makes it the only area in the state with an unemployment rate above 5.0 percent in May. That figure represents a 1.5 percent drop from its revised April 2017 rate, one of the largest rate decreases for the month. The remaining 94 counties have unemployment rates of 4.8 percent or lower. Cannon County was the only area not experiencing any change.

“This shows that job growth in Tennessee isn’t exclusive to our major metropolitan areas; people are returning to the workforce in every corner of our state,” Commissioner Phillips said. “We continue to focus our resources on those Tennesseans who are still out of work, but the numbers show we are making progress.”

Preliminary unemployment rates have fallen for both Tennessee and the United States. Decreasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point, the state rate is 4.0 percent for May. The national rate fell a tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent for the month.

Locally, Anderson County saw its unemployment rate decline by eight-tenths of a percent, dropping from 3.8% in April to 3.0% last month.

Unemployment in Campbell County fell by a steep 1.3% last month, going from 5.3% in April to an even 4.0% in May.

Morgan County saw its unemployment rate plummet by 1.4%, dropping from 5.2% in April to 3.8% a month ago.

In Roane County, unemployment fell to 3.4% in May, down nine-tenths of a percent from 4.3% two months ago.

Union County’s unemployment rate also tumbled in may, ending up at 3.2% after closing April at 4.2%.

Specific county information for the month of May is available online at

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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