Unemployment edged up last month in Chattanooga from the record low reached in April as school ended and more students entered the job market, but the local jobless rate remained below the U.S. average, according to new government figures.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said unemployment in metropolitan Chattanooga rose to 3.2% in May, up from 2.6% in May primarily because of seasonal factors. The comparable non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate for the United States last month was 3.4%, which was unchanged from April.
Over the past 12 months, employers in the 6-county Chattanooga metro area added a net 2,221 more jobs to their payrolls. Across all of Tennessee, employers have added 75,000 more jobs over the past year, according to state figures.
“For Tennessee, this is continued evidence that the labor market remains strong and that there are opportunities out there for those who want to work,” said Don Bruce, director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee. “We continue to have a significant shortage of workers in the state.”
Tennessee Career Centers on Friday were advertising 370,191 open jobs, or more than three times the number of Tennesseans counted as unemployed last month. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce lists 2,398 available jobs on its website Chatanoogacallling.com.
Among Tennessee’s 95 counties, unemployment as the highest in Bledsoe and Scott counties at 5.3% last month. In the Chattanooga region, unemployment was lowest in Dade County where the jobless rate remained under 3%.
The unemployment rate fell the most in the Dalton area, where employers added 300 jobs last month and 1,200 jobs over the past year.
Although Georgia’s unemployment rate was up in May, Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson said “Georgia’s economy and job market remains red hot” with historically low unemployment and jobless claims.
JOBLESS IN MAY
Unemployment rose in most area counties last month. The non-seasonally-adjusted May jobless rates were:
— Dade, 2.9%, up from 2.1% in April
— Catoosa, 3%, up from 2.3% in April
— Hamilton, 3.2%, up from 2.6% in April
— Walker, 3.3%, up from 2.6% in April
— Coffee, 3.3%, up from 2.7% in April
— Bradley, 3.5%, up from 2.8% in April
— Franklin, 3.5%, up from 2.7% in April
— Rhea, 3.5%, up from 2.8% in April
— Whitfield, 3.7%, down from 4.1% in April
— Sequatchie, 3.8%, up from 3% in April
— Polk, 3,9%, up from 3.2% in April
— Chattooga, 3.9%, down from 4% in April
— Marion, 4%, up from 3.1% in April
— McMinn, 4%, up from 3.6% in April
— Murray, 4.1%, unchanged from April
— Van Buren, 4.2%, up from 3.5% in April
— Meigs, 4.3%, down from 4.6% in April
— Grundy, 4.4%, up from 3.5% in April
— Bledsoe, 5.3%, up from 4.6% in April
Sources: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Georgia Department of Labor
— Compiled by Dave Flessner