Unemployment rises in area counties

Unemployment rises in area counties

Seasonal rise in labor force swamps job gains

July 25th, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Employers in metropolitan Chattanooga added 670 more workers last month, but those employment gains were more than offset by the addition of 3,070 new entrants into the Chattanooga labor market.

As a result, Chattanooga's jobless rate rose in June to to the highest rate since last October. In the 6-county Chattanooga metropolitan area, the jobless rate increased by rose by nine-tenths of a percentage point last month to 7.1 percent. Chattanooga's rate in June remained below the comparable statewide rate of 7.4 percent but rose above the U.S. rate of 6.3 percent in June.

Similar seasonal gains in the labor force from students and new graduates entering the labor market pushed up the unemployment rates across Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.

In metro Cleveland, Tenn., unemployment rose in June by 1.2 percentage points to 7.1 percent -- the highest rate in eight months. The jobless rate in metro Dalton rose by five-tenths of a percent in June to 9.3 percent -- the highest rate in five months.

Statewide, unemployment was up across both Tennessee and Georgia as government employment shrunk with school out for the summer and some manufacturing and construction was down from the springtime levels.

In the Chattanooga region, unemployment remained to lowest in the bedroom communities in Northwest Georgia, including Catoosa and Walker counties. Unemployment was highest in the Dalton area counties of Whitfield and Murray in Georgia and in the rural counties of Rhea and Van Buren counties.

Among Tennessee's biggest counties, the jobless rate was lowest in Davidson County at 6 percent, up from 5.2 percent in May, and was highest in Shelby County at 8.8 percent in June, up from 7.5 in May. The jobless rate in Hamilton County rose from 6.2 percent in May to 7.2 percent in June.