Unemployment in metropolitan Chattanooga fell last month to the lowest level so far this year as local employers added 5,113 jobs over the past 12 months in the 6-county metro area.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said today that the non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate in the Chattanooga area dropped by a tenth of a percentage point to 3.3 percent in March, matching Tennessee's statewide rate and staying six tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. average of 3.9 percent last month.
Employment in metro Chattanooga grew by nearly 2 percent in the past 12 months to reach a new high of 266,240. The jobless rate fell in Chattanooga at the end of 2018 to a record low of 3.1 percent, but unemployment in the 6-county region has remained below the 4 percent level often regarded as "full employment" for 10 consecutive months.
Among Tennessee's 95 counties, 69 showed an uptick in the unemployment rate in March, including Hamilton, Marion and Bradley counties in Southeast Tennessee. But 80 counties recorded an unemployment rate in March 2019 that is lower compared to the same time last year.
"Even though many counties did see a small increase in their unemployment rates, Tennessee continues a pattern of low unemployment," Tennessee Labor Commissioner Jeff McCord said today in a report on the new jobless numbers. "Unemployment in many areas of the state mirrors or is even lower than it was the same month last year."
The Nashville suburb of Williamson County had the state's lowest unemployment rate last month at 2.4 percent, while Clay County in upper East Tennessee had the state's highest jobless rate at 6 percent.
In Southeast Tennessee, Rhea County had the highest unemployment rate last month at 5.7 percent, followed by Bledsoe County with a 5.4 percent jobless rate.
Statewide, Tennessee's unemployment remains at a historic low. The March 2019 seasonally adjusted rate of 3.2 percent is unchanged from February when unemployment reached an all-time low in the state.