BY RICH JONES
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Greene County's unemployment rate dropped to 11.0 percent in August, a significant decrease from the 11.6 percent reported as being jobless here in the previous month.
Greene County followed a statewide trend in which only two of the state's 95 counties showed an increase in unemployment, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
Seven nearby counties -- Cocke, Hamblen, Hawkins, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington -- also posted improved jobless rates.
Greene County -- as it had the previous month -- continues to post the highest unemployment rate of the seven nearby counties of Cocke, Hamblen, Hawkins, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington.
Greene County's unemployment rate a year ago, in August 2011, was 12.3 percent.
The county's unemployment rate has been in double-digits in all but two months -- April and May of this year -- since November 2008.
The most recent numbers for Greene County reversed a two-month trend of increasing unemployment in June (11.2 percent) and July (11.6 percent).
As reported previously, the U.S. unemployment rate in August was 8.1 percent, down from 8.3 percent in July.
The Tennessee jobless rate for August, however, increased to 8.5 percent, from 8.4 percent in July.
Tom Ferguson, President and CEO of the Greene County Partnership, could not be reached for comment.
The latest statistics show Greene County as having 27,250 persons employed in August, and 3,380 unemployed, in a total labor force of 30,630.
Greene County during July had 27,170 employed and 3,550 unemployed in a total labor force of 30,720.
That means there were 80 more persons employed in the county during August than in the previous month, according to the latest data.
There were 170 fewer persons unemployed in August than in July, according to the latest report.
The total work force in August decreased by 90 persons.
Here are the jobless rates in nearby East Tennessee counties in August, and the county-by-county change:
* Cocke County, 10.7 percent, down from 11.2 percent in July;
* Hamblen County, 9.8 percent, down from 10.1 percent in July;
* Hawkins County, 7.9 percent, down from 8.2 percent in July;
* Sevier County, 7.9 percent, down from 8.2 percent in July;
* Sullivan County, 7.0 percent, down from 7.7 percent in July;
* Unicoi County, 9.5 percent, down from 9.6 percent in July, and
* Washington County, 7.2 percent, down from 7.4 percent in July.
THE PAST YEAR
Here are the Greene County unemployment rates in each month for the past year, beginning with August, 2012:
* 11.0 percent in August;
* 11.6 percent in July;
* 11.3 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 2011;
* 10.3 percent in November 2011;
* 11.1 percent in October 2011;
* 12.4 percent in September 2011 ; and
* 12.3 percent in August 2011.
Unemployment numbers for Greeneville and Greene County are counted together.
Here are the August unemployment rates in Greene County in recent years:
* 11.0 percent in August 2012;
* 12.7 percent in August 2011;
* 12.8 percent in August 2010;
* 17.4 percent in August 2009; and
* 9.2 percent in August 2008.
STATE'S LARGEST CITIES
The August unemployment rates in Tennessee's largest cities were:
* Chattanooga, 7.8 percent, down from 8.3 percent in July;
* Knoxville, 6.9 percent, down from 7.0 percent in July;
* Memphis, 8.9 percent, down from 9.6 percent in July; and
* Nashville, 7.2 percent, down from 7.3 percent in July.
The August unemployment rates in nearby smaller cities were:
* Bristol, 6.5 percent, down from 7.5 percent in July;
* Johnson City, 7.2 percent, down from 7.6 percent in July;
* Kingsport, 7.7 percent, down from 8.2 percent in July; and
* Morristown, 10.4 percent, down from 11.0 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 17.5 percent.
Lincoln County, south of Nashville and bordering Alabama, had the state's lowest county unemployment rate in August with 5.7.
Of Tennessee's 95 counties, two showed an increase in unemployment during August -- Jefferson and Macon.
Three counties remained unchanged from the previous month: Davidson, Knox, and Williamson.