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Jobless rate rises slightly in December

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Still lower than reported last year

Roane County’s 7.4 percent December unemployment rate may be slightly higher than reported last month, but it’s still lower than it was during the same period in 2010, according to statistics released late last week from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The state’s figures indicate the most recent posting is up 0.1 percent over November’s rate.

That means 26,080 workers in the county’s 28,160 labor force were employed in December.

In December 2010, Roane County recorded a jobless rate at 7.5 percent, up 0.1 percent from the most recent figures.

As in previous months, the county’s rate is lower than that for the state and nation.

Tennessee’s jobless rate, however, dropped in December to 8.1 percent, a difference of 0.3 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate is 8.3 percent, up from November’s 8.2 percent.

Statewide, 56 counties saw jobless rate decreases, and 27 counties experienced an increase.

Unemployment rates remained unchanged for 12 of the state’s 95 counties.

Both Lincoln and Williamson counties in Middle Tennessee had the state’s lowest rate at 5.4 percent. Neighboring Knox County had the next lowest rate, at 5.9 percent.

Nearby Scott County again the state’s highest unemployment rate at 18.8 percent. Union County in East Tennessee had the second-highest rate at 15.3 percent, followed by Pickett County, which lies on the Kentucky border on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee, at 14.9  percent.

December rates for surrounding counties were Anderson, 7.4, down 0.3 percent; Cumberland, 9.9, up 0.7 percent; Knox, 5.9, down 0.4 percent; Loudon, 7.2, unchanged; McMinn, 10.0, down 0.5 percent; Meigs, 10.6, down 0.7 percent; Monroe, 12.5, down 0.7 percent; Morgan, 9.7, up 0.3 percent; and Rhea, 11.3, down 0.7 percent.

The Nashville Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area had the lowest unemployment rate in its category at 7.0 percent, a decrease over November’s 7.4 percent.

Second-lowest was Johnson City at 7.1 percent.

The Knoxville Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has long held the lowest rate, was third at 7.3 percent, a decrease of 0.3 percent.

The area is comprised of Knoxville, Roane County, Campbell County, Morristown, Cocke and Sevier counties.
There are six combined metropolitan statistical areas in the state.

Visit the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development website at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd for more information.