Shelby County jobless rate drops to 3.5%

bex-2017-07-06-joblessFollowing the lowest state unemployment rate in nearly 20 years, Tennessee’s county unemployment rates for May 2017, released last week, have decreased in 94 counties and remained the same in one, according to data released today by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). Shelby County has an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, a decrease from 4.4 percent in April.

Davidson County has the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 2.1 percent, a decline from 2.7 percent during the prior month. Knox County’s rate is 2.5 percent, decreasing from April’s 3.1 percent. Hamilton County declined from its previous month’s rate of 3.6 to 2.9 percent.

Specific county information for the month of May is available online at

“We continue to see a substantial drop in the unemployment rate of our metropolitan areas, which is great,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “But the most encouraging numbers are coming from Tennessee’s distressed counties, many of which saw a significant drop in their unemployment rates.”

Rhea County’s 5.1 percent makes it the only area in the state with an unemployment rate above 5.0 percent in May. That figure represents a 1.5 percent drop from its revised April 2017 rate, one of the largest rate decreases for the month. The remaining 94 counties have unemployment rates of 4.8 percent or lower. Cannon County was the only area not experiencing any change.

“This shows that job growth in Tennessee isn’t exclusive to our major metropolitan areas; people are returning to the workforce in every corner of our state,” Commissioner Phillips said. “We continue to focus our resources on those Tennesseans who are still out of work, but the numbers show we are making progress.”

Preliminary unemployment rates have fallen for both Tennessee and the United States. Decreasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point, the state rate is 4.0 percent for May. The national rate fell a tenth of a percentage point to 4.3 percent for the month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted, while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

The state unemployment release for June 2017 will be published on Thursday, July 20.