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The Impact of School Breaks Increases County Jobless Rates

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Each June, Tennessee counties experience an increase in unemployment as schools close for summer break and lay off workers. Recent college graduates entering the workforce for the first time also impact the data each year. Once again this June, data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) showed jobless rates increased in each of the state’s 95 counties.

While county rates increased in June, the statewide rate ticked down. This can occur because county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted, while the state and national rates use the seasonal adjustment to eliminate outside influences, such as school closures, on the statistics.

In June, unemployment rates were less than 5% in 19 Tennessee counties. Seventy-five counties had rates 5% or greater but less than 10%, and one county showed a rate higher than 10%.

Williamson County recorded the state’s lowest unemployment rate. At 3.4%, the county’s June rate increased 0.7 of a percentage point from the previous month.

Perry County’s rate jumped to 13% in June, a spike of 5.9 percentage points when compared to May’s rate.

Clay County recorded an unemployment rate of 7.5% for June. This was a two-point percentage increase from May.

Jackson County recorded an unemployment rate of 6.1, up 1.4 percentage points from May.

Overton County recorded a rate of 5.1%, a 1.2 percentage point increase from May.

Fentress County recorded a 5.6% unemployment rate, an increase of 1.4 percent from May.

The statewide unemployment rate for June decreased 0.1 of a percentage point to 4.9%. That is 4.4 percentage points lower than Tennessee’s rate in June 2020.

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