Metro Chattanooga adds 3,600 jobs

Metro Chattanooga adds 3,600 jobs

August 4th, 2011 in Business Around the Region

Timothy Goines, left, has help from Adrian Craighead while looking for jobs on the computer at the Tennessee Employment Service Office at Eastgate Center in Brainerd in this file photo.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Job growth in metropolitan Chattanooga was nearly double the pace of employment gains nationwide over the past year, but Chattanooga still was among the 90 percent of American cities where the unemployment rate rose in June, according to government figures released Wednesday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the six-county Chattanooga area added 3,600 jobs from June 2010 to June 2011. The area accounted for more than a third of all of the net new jobs in Tennessee in the past year.

The 1.6 percent rise in Chattanooga jobs over the past 12 months also was far ahead of the U.S. employment gain of 0.9 percent or Tennessee's job increase of 0.2 percent, the bureau reported.

Nonetheless, June's jobless rate edged higher in June from the previous month because of more workers looking for jobs, University of Tennessee economist Matt Murray said.

The city's rate in June, 9.1 percent, remained higher than both the 8.7 percent rate in May or the 8.4 percent rate of a year ago.

"The economy is growing but not at a fast enough rate to absorb the increase in the number of people looking for work," Murray said.

Despite Chattanooga's above-average job gains, employment in neighboring metro Cleveland dipped by 100 jobs over the past year, pushing up the jobless rate in metro Cleveland to to 10.3 percent. In metro Dalton, Ga., employment fell by 500 jobs over the past year to boost the jobless rate in June to 12.1 percent.