Jobless rate holds steady in December

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Roane County’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in December at 7.6 percent, according to statistics released late last month from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

That means 26,050 workers in the county’s 28,180 labor force were employed during the month.

Roane County’s jobless rate was also the fifth-lowest in the state for December. Lincoln and Williamson counties held on to the top two spots at 6.2 and 6.5 percent, respective-

Neighboring Knox County claimed the third-lowest rate at 6.8 percent, followed by Sullivan County at 7.6 percent.

Overall, Tennessee’s jobless rate for December was 9.1 percent, a decrease of 0.3 percent. The U.S. rate, also at 9.1 percent, dropped by 0.2 percent.

Statewide, 52 counties saw jobless rate decreases, and the rate rose in 35 counties.

Unemployment rates remained unchanged for eight of the state’s 95 counties.

Nearby Scott County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 20.4 percent. Pickett County, which lies on the Kentucky border on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee, had the state’s second-highest rate at 15.7 percent.

Marshall County in Middle Tennessee reflected the third-highest rate at 15.6 percent.

Unemployment rates for surrounding counties in December were Anderson, 8.5, unchanged; Cumberland, 11, up 0.7 percent; Loudon, 8.2, up 0.1 percent; McMinn, 11.7, down 0.3 percent; Meigs, 11.8, down 0.4 percent; Monroe, 13.5, up 0.6 percent; Morgan, 10.1, down 0.1 percent; and Rhea, 12, down 0.2 percent.

The Knoxville Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area had the lowest unemployment rate it its category at 8.2 percent, an increase over November’s 8.3 percent.

The area is comprised of Knoxville, Roane County, Campbell County, Morristown, Cocke and Sevier counties.

Over the past year, Roane County’s jobless rate has dropped considerably. The county registered an unemployment figure of 9 percent in December 2009.

The state’s overall rate was 10.6 percent a year ago, and the nation’s unemployment figure in December 2009 was 9.7 percent.