BY RICH JONES
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
All 95 Tennessee counties experienced an increase in unemployment during June, and Greene County was among those hit the hardest, posting a jobless rate of 11.2 percent.
That's up from 9.5 percent during the previous month.
Only seven counties had a higher percentage increase than Greene: the small, rural counties of Chester, Dyer, Hardeman, Lake, Scott, Van Buren, and Weakley.
The state's unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in June, up from 7.9 percent in May.
The U.S. jobless rate in June was 8.2 percent, unchanged from May.
Greene County's unemployment rate a year ago, in June 2011, was 13.2 percent, although it had been dropping from that level in nearly every month until bottoming out at 9.5 percent in April 2012 and 9.5 percent in May 2012.
The June numbers, released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, put an end to that slow, but steady, year-long positive trend.
Tom Ferguson, president and CEO of the Greene County Partnership, said he doesn't have a specific answer for the abrupt upswing.
"The local manufacturers that I'm aware of are not laying people off; they're hiring or staying at the same level," Ferguson said.
He did say that recent discussions he has had lead him to believe the local small-business sector is feeling uncertainty and pressure about taxes and health care expenses, with an eye toward the November election.
Another factor in June numbers, Ferguson noted, is college students looking for jobs.
"They're in the workforce, too, and they're having a tough time finding work," Ferguson said.
"I'm hoping these numbers are an anomaly that have something to do with the summer," he added.
Indeed, records kept by The Greeneville Sun show that Greene County unemployment has gone up from May to June in every year going back through 2008, although the May-to-June period this year is by far the largest percentage increase during that five-year span.
THE WORKFORCE NUMBERS
The latest statistics show Greene County as having 27,310 persons employed in June, and 3,460 unemployed, in a total labor force of 30,760. (The department's numbers are rounded to the nearest 10, resulting in the slight discrepancy).
Greene County during May had 27,650 employed and 2,920 unemployed in a total labor force of 30,570.
That means there were 340 fewer persons employed in the county during June than in the previous month, according to the latest data.
There were 540 more persons unemployed in June than in May, according to the latest report.
In addition, the total work force in June increased by 1,110 persons from April.
Here are the jobless rates in nearby East Tennessee counties in June, and the county-by-county change:
* Cocke County, 11.3 percent, up from 10.5 percent in May;
* Hamblen County, 10.1 percent, up from 9.3 percent in May;
* Hawkins County, 8.3 percent, up from 7.8 percent in May;
* Sevier County, 8.4 percent, up from 8.1 percent in May;
* Sullivan County, 8.0 percent, up from 6.8 percent in May;
* Unicoi County, 9.4 percent, up from 8.6 percent in May, and
* Washington County, 7.5 percent, up from 6.8 percent in May.
THE PAST YEAR
Here are the Greene County unemployment rates in each month for the past year, beginning with June 2012:
* 11.2 percent in June;
* 9.6 percent in May;
* 9.5 percent in April;
* 10.6 percent in March;
* 11.1 percent in February;
* 11.3 percent in January;
* 10.8 percent in December;
* 10.3 percent in November;
* 11.1 percent in October;
* 12.4 percent in September;
* 12.3 percent in August;
* 12.7 percent in July; and
* 13.2 percent in June 2011.
Unemployment numbers for Greeneville and Greene County are counted together.
Here are the June unemployment rates in Greene County in recent years:
* 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, 8.2 percent, up from 7.4 percent in May;
* Knoxville, 7.0 percent, up from 6.3 percent in May;
* Memphis, 9.6 percent, up from 8.8 percent in May; and
* Nashville, 7.3 percent, up from 6.7 percent in May.
The June unemployment rates in nearby smaller cities were:
* Bristol, 7.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in May;
* Johnson City, 7.7 percent, up from 7.2 percent in May;
* Kingsport, 8.4 percent, up from 7.6 percent in May; and
* Morristown, 10.9 percent, up from 10.2 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 18.5 percent.
Counties with the lowest unemployment were Williamson County, a suburb south of Nashville, and Lincoln County, south of Nashville and bordering Alabama, both with 5.9 percent in June.