In Greene County
Has Risen Steadily
Since October, '08
BY DOUGLAS WATSON
Greene County's unemployment spiraled to 16.5 percent in June, up from an already very high 15.5 percent in May, the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday.
Reflecting the recession's impact, unemployment in Greene County has risen steadily since October 2008, when it was 9.1 percent.
The jobless rate in Greene County went to 9.6 percent last November, then to 11.2 percent in December, and then rose to 14.1 percent in January before going to 14.2 percent in February, then rising to 15.2 percent in March, 15.3 percent in April, 15.5 percent in May, and then 16.5 percent in June.
For comparison, Greene County throughout 2008 had an average monthly jobless rate of 9.1 percent, which was higher than that of any other recent year.
The state's latest unemployment report lists Greene County in May as having 26,600 employed and 5,260 unemployed in a total labor force of 31,860.
During June 2009, Tennessee's unemployment rate was 11.1 percent, compared with 6.7 percent in June 2008.
The United States' unemployment rate in June 2009 was 9.7 percent.
PREVIOUS JUNE RATES
Greene County's June unemployment rates in recent years have been:
* 8.9 percent in 2008;
* 6.6 percent in 2007;
* 8.1 percent in 2006;
* 9.1 percent in 2005;
* 8.2 percent in 2004;
* 7.3 percent in 2003;
* 5.6 percent in 2002.
Here are the June 2009 unemployment rates in nearby counties, all of which were lower than Greene County's 16.5 percent jobless rate:
* Cocke, 13.2 percent;
* Hamblen, 13.3 percent;
* Hawkins, 12.9 percent;
* Sullivan, 9.6 percent;
* Unicoi, 12.6 percent;
* Washington, 9.2 percent.
The state's four most populous combined statistical areas (CSAs) in May reported:
* Chattanooga, 10.3 percent, up from from 9.7 percent in May;
* Knoxville, 10.1 percent, up from 9.6 percent in May;
* Nashville, 10.3 percent, up from 9.4 percent in May;
* Memphis, 10.3 percent, up from 9.6 percent in May.
The May unemployment rates in nearby smaller cities were:
* Bristol, 11.6 percent, up from 10.6 percent in May;
* Johnson City, 9.1 percent, up from 8.4 percent in May;
* Kingsport, 12.7 percent, up from 12.6 percent in May;
* Morristown, 19.4 percent, up from 18.5 percent in May;
* Oak Ridge, 8.9 percent, up from 8.4 percent in May.
Jobless totals for Greeneville and Greene County are counted together by the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
HIGHEST AND LOWEST
Perry County, in West Tennessee, had the state's highest unemployment rate in June at 22.1 percent.
Lincoln County, in Middle Tennessee bordering Alabama, had the state's lowest June unemployment rate at 7.1 percent.