BY RICH JONES
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Greene County's unemployment rate jumped sharply in June to 12.1 percent, the highest it has been since September 2011.
The county's jobless rate is also the highest by a significant margin of all seven nearby counties monitored closely each month by The Greeneville Sun.
The latest numbers continue a three-month upward trend in local unemployment.
In the previous month, May, Greene County's jobless rate was 11.2 percent, up from 10.6 percent in April.
For the first six months of 2013, the county's unemployment rate averages 11.4 percent.
Statewide, the unemployment rate now stands at 8.5 percent, up from 8.3 percent in the previous month.
Of Tennessee's 95 counties, 91 reported an increase in the jobless rate in June, four counties remained the same as the previous month and none reported lower unemployment.
The U.S. unemployment rate is unchanged at 7.6 percent.
"I really have no explanation," said Tom Ferguson, president and CEO of the Greene County Partnership, concerning the latest Greene County unemployment numbers.
"It's up a little, down a little," he said.
"There may be some sort of seasonal adjustment for products being produced here," Ferguson added.
The latest monthly report from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development shows Greene County with 25,260 persons employed in June, and 3,480 unemployed, in a total labor force of 28,730.
Greene County during the previous month, May, had 25,420 employed and 3,210 unemployed in a total labor force of 28,630.
That means there were 160 fewer persons employed in the county during June than in the previous month, according to the latest data. There were also 270 more persons unemployed in June than in May.
The total Greene County workforce in June, employed and unemployed combined, increased by 100 persons.
The county's current total labor force -- 28,730 -- has decreased from 30,760 a year ago, in June 2012.
Here are the jobless rates in nearby East Tennessee counties in June, and the county-by-county change:
* Cocke County, 11.1 percent, up from 10.6 percent in May;
* Hamblen County, 10.0 percent, up from 9.4 percent in May;
* Hawkins County, 8.8 percent, up from 8.5 percent in May;
* Sevier County, 8.2 percent, up from 8.1 percent in May;
* Sullivan County, 8.3 percent, up from 7.5 percent in May;
* Unicoi County, 8.7 percent, up from 8.2 percent in May, and
* Washington County, 8.1 percent up from 7.4 percent in May.
THE PAST YEAR
Here are the Greene County unemployment rates in each month for the past year, beginning with June 2013:
* 12.1 percent in June 2013;
* 11.2 percent in May 2013;
* 10.6 percent in April 2013;
* 11.2 percent in March 2013;
* 11.6 percent in February 2013;
* 11.9 percent in January 2013;
* 10.4 percent in December 2012;
* 8.7 percent in November 2012;
* 10.4 percent in October 2012;
* 10.0 percent in September 2012;
* 11.0 percent in August 2012;
* 11.6 percent in July 2012; and
* 11.2 percent in June 2012.
Unemployment numbers for Greeneville and Greene County are counted together.
RECENT MAY TOTALS
Here are the June unemployment rates in Greene County in recent years:
* 12.1 percent in June 2013;
* 11.2 percent in June 2012;
* 13.2 percent in June 2011;
* 13.5 percent in June 2010; and
* 16.5 percent in June 2009.
STATE'S LARGEST CITIES
The June unemployment rates in Tennessee's largest cities were:
* Chattanooga, 9.9 percent, up from 9.1 percent in May;
* Knoxville, 8.5 percent, up from 8.0 percent in May;
* Memphis, 11.6 percent, up from 10.8 percent in May; and
* Nashville, 7.1 percent, up from 6.7 percent in May.
The June unemployment rates in nearby smaller cities were:
* Bristol, 8.3 percent, up from 7.3 percent in May;
* Johnson City, 8.3 percent, up from 7.6 percent in May;
* Kingsport, 9.0 percent, up from 8.3 percent in May; and
* Morristown, 10.8 percent, up from 10.6 percent in May.
HIGHEST AND LOWEST
Scott County, north of Knoxville and bordering Kentucky, had the state's highest county unemployment rate in June, at 18.1 percent.
Williamson County, a suburb just south of Nashville, recorded the state's lowest county unemployment rate in June, at 6.1 percent.
HOW GREEBE CO. RANKS
Tennessee has 95 counties. Of those 95 counties, 16 counties had higher unemployment than Greene County, 77 counties reported less unemployment, and one county was the same as Greene County at 12.1 percent.
Greene County is the most populous county to have an unemployment rate as high as 12.1 percent.