March unemployment drops in Shelby County and most TN counties

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) has released the March 2018 unemployment rates for each county in Tennessee. The newest statistics highlighted improved rates during March for the majority of the state’s counties.

For March, Shelby County had a labor force of 447,000 people, with 429,070 employed and 17,920 (4.0 percent) unemployed. That compares to 4.2 percent unemployed in February (a drop of 0.2 percent) and 4.7 percent unemployed in March 2017 (a 0.7 percent drop).

For the “Memphis-TN-MS-AR MSA” combined statistical area, there was a labor force of 638,840 people in March, with 613,680 employed and 25,160 unemployed (3.9 percent). This represented a drop of 0.2 percent from the February unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

Eighty-two of Tennessee’s 95 counties experienced lower unemployment rates when compared to February 2018. The rates in nine counties mirrored the previous month and four counties experienced a slight increase in unemployment during March.

Williamson County once again had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent. That number did increase 0.1 of a percentage point from the previous month.

At 2.6 percent, Davidson County’s rate was the same as its February rate and was the second lowest in the state. Rutherford County also had a March rate of 2.6 percent, which was 0.1 of a percentage point lower than the month before.

The unemployment rate in Houston County decreased a full percentage point during March to 5.8 percent but continued to have the highest unemployment rate in Tennessee. Bledsoe County also had a rate of 5.8 percent in March, which is lower than its February rate of 6.1 percent.

Tennessee’s statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2018 was 3.4 percent, which matched the revised February statewide rate of 3.4 percent. The national unemployment rate for the month held steady at 4.1 percent.

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

The State of Tennessee will release the April 2018 statewide unemployment rate at 1:30 p.m. CT on May 17.