BY RICH JONES
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Greene County's unemployment rate made a move in the right direction during August, dropping to 11.1 percent.
The county's jobless rate was 11.5 percent in July and 12.1 percent in June.
The Tennessee unemployment rate remained unchanged in August at 8.5 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent.
All seven neighboring counties monitored closely each month by The Greeneville Sun also enjoyed jobless rates that were lower or unchanged.
Greene County continues to have the highest unemployment rate among its neighbors.
Of Tennesee's 95 counties, unemployment decreased in 77 counties, increased in nine counties and remained unchanged in nine counties.
The latest monthly report from the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development shows Greene County with 25,730 persons employed in August, and 3,230 unemployed, in a total labor force of 28,960.
Greene County during the previous month, July, had 25,500 employed, and 3,310 unemployed, in a total labor force of 28,810.
That means there were 230 more persons employed in the county during August than in the previous month, according to the latest data. There were 80 fewer persons unemployed in August than in July.
The total Greene County workforce in August, employed and unemployed combined, increased by 150 from the previous month.
"It seems we're gradually making progress," said Tom Ferguson, president and CEO of the Greene County Partnership.
"There's a lot of hiring going on in Greene County right now for good-paying jobs if people have the skills," he said.
Here are the jobless rates in nearby East Tennessee counties in August, and the county-by-county change:
* Cocke County, 10.0 percent, down from 10.4 percent in July;
* Hamblen County, 9.1 percent, down from 9.2 percent in July;
* Hawkins County, 8.0 percent, down from 8.5 percent in July;
* Sevier County, 7.5 percent, down from 7.7 percent in July;
* Sullivan County, 7.1 percent, down from 7.6 percent in July;
* Unicoi County, 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent in July, and
* Washington County, 7.7 percent, unchanged from July.
THE PAST YEAR
Here are the Greene County unemployment rates in each month for the past year, beginning with August 2013:
* 11.1 percent in August 2013;
* 11.5 percent in July 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; and
* 11.0 percent in August 2012.
Unemployment numbers for Greeneville and Greene County are counted together.
RECENT AUGUST TOTALS
Here are the August unemployment rates in Greene County in recent years:
* 11.1 percent in August 2013
* 11.0 percent in August 2012;
* 12.3 percent in August 2011;
* 12.9 percent in August 2010; and
* 15.8 percent in August 2009.
STATE'S LARGEST CITIES
The August unemployment rates in Tennessee's largest cities were:
* Chattanooga, 9.2 percent, down from 9.7 percent in July;
* Knoxville, 8.2 percent, unchanged from July;
* Memphis, 10.9 percent, down from 11.0 percent in July; and
* Nashville, 6.9 percent, up from 6.7 percent in July.
The July unemployment rates in nearby smaller cities were:
* Bristol, 7.4 percent, down from 8.0 percent in July;
* Johnson City, 7.8 percent, down from 8.2 percent in July;
* Kingsport, 7.8 percent, down from 8.1 percent in July; and
* Morristown, 9.6 percent, down from 9.7 percent in July.
HIGHEST AND LOWEST
Scott County, north of Knoxville and bordering Kentucky, had the state's highest county unemployment rate in August, at 16.2 percent.
Lincoln County, south of Nashville and bordering Alabama, recorded the state's lowest county unemployment rate in July, at 5.8 percent.
HOW GREENE CO. RANKS
Tennessee has 95 counties. Of those 95 counties, 16 counties had higher unemployment than Greene County, 78 counties reported lower unemployment, and one county was the same as Greene County at 11.1 percent.
Greene County is the most populous county to have an unemployment rate as high as 11.5 percent.