April’s record-high unemployment rates recorded in all 95 counties in Tennessee saw what officials described as sizable decreases as the state slowly reopened in May 2020, that according to preliminary data released by the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).
Every Tennessee county had lower unemployment rates in May, when compared to April, when many businesses closed in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Even with that marked improvement, officials reported that 42 counties had unemployment rates greater than 5%, but less than 10%. Over half of Tennessee’s counties, 53, had rates greater than 10%, but less than 20%.
Weakley County had Tennessee’s lowest unemployment rate in May. The county’s new rate of 7% is 2.5 percentage points lower than it was in April.
Sevier County continued to have the highest rate of unemployment in Tennessee, but, the county’s new rate of 18.5% represents a “staggering” drop of 10.6 percentage points from April’s record high of 29.1%, according to TDLWD.
May’s unemployment numbers also dropped in each of Tennessee’s three largest cities, including Knoxville, which experienced the most significant decrease with its rate changing from 14.7% in April to 10% in May. Nashville experienced the second biggest decrease with unemployment dropping from 16.1% in April to 12.6% in May, a difference of 3.5 percentage points.
Locally, Anderson County’s unemployment rate fell from 14.9% in April to 10.3%, a decrease of 4.6 percentage points, but still 3.3% higher than this time one year ago.
Campbell County saw the biggest decrease among the counties surrounding Anderson, falling 5.3% from 16.6% in April to 11.3 a month ago.
Knox County’s rate fell by 4.3% from 12.9 in April to 8.6% in May.
In Morgan County, unemployment went from 10.6% in April to 7.7% last month, a decrease of 2.9%.
Roane County’s jobless rate fell by almost four full points, dropping to 8.0% in May after reaching 11.9% in April, a decrease of 3.9%.
Union County saw its unemployment rate fall from 12.9% two months ago to 9.2% last month, a drop of 3.7%.
The statewide unemployment statistic from May also decreased significantly, according to the state, with the new preliminary rate of 11.3% showing a decline of 4.2 percentage points from April’s revised rate of 15.5%.
Nationwide, unemployment decreased to 13.3% in May, down from the 14.7% rate recorded the month before.
Unlike the statewide rate, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.
A complete analysis of Tennessee’s May 2020 county unemployment data is available here.