Jobless in July
Unemployment rose in 11 of the 19 counties in the Chattanooga region last month.
County July rate Change
Coffee 6.0 percent unchanged
Franklin 6.1 percent up 0.1 percent
Hamilton 6.2 percent up 0.1 percent
Bradley 6.3 percent unchanged
McMinn 7.2 percent up 0.1 percent
Sequatchie 7.4 percent up 0.1 percent
Polk 7.4 percent down 0.2 percent
Marion 7.5 percent down 0.1 percent
Meigs 8.5 percent unchanged
Rhea 8.6 percent unchanged
Bledsoe 8.6 percent down 0.4 percent
Grundy 8.9 percent up 0.4 percent
Van Buren 9.1 percent unchanged
County July rate Change
Catoosa 5.8 percent up 0.2 percent
Walker 6.5 percent up 0.2 percent
Dade 6.5 percent up 0.3 percent
Whitfield 7.1 percent up 0.5 percent
Chattooga 7.1 percent up 0.6 percent
Murray 8.1 percent up 0.5 percent
Sources: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Georgia Department of Labor
Unemployment edged higher and remained above the U.S. average across the 19-county Chattanooga region during July.
But employers in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia have still added jobs at a healthy pace over the past year and new and expanding businesses moving into the area are projected to add thousands of new jobs in the next year.
Unemployment in the Chattanooga metropolitan area edged up by a tenth of a percentage point during July to 6.3 percent, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday. Chattanooga's jobless rate was seven-tenths of a percentage point above the comparable U.S. unemployment rate of 5.6 percent during July.
But Chattanooga employers still added jobs at a healthy 2.7 percent pace over the past year, according to household surveys in the six-county area. Employers in metro Chattanooga added 6,310 jobs from July 2014 to July 2015 to cut the jobless rate in the metropolitan area by 1.2 percentage points from a year ago.
"Despite the recent volatility we've seen in the stock market, the economy in Tennessee is doing well and we're seeing jobs being added in Chattanooga at Volkswagen and other companies that should sustain this recovery," said Dr. William Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.
Fox predicts the expansion of Volkswagen's Chattanooga manufacturing facility to produce a new midsize sport utility vehicle will add about 9,800 jobs to the Tennessee economy. The expansion includes the opening of a North American Engineering and Planning Center.
Volkswagen currently employs 2,400 workers at its Chattanooga assembly plant.
In the past couple of months, Gestamp, Denso and Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems have announced expansions projected to add more than 1,200 automotive supplier jobs in East Tennessee.
Additions in the carpet industry also helped boost employment in Dalton, Ga., by 1,900 jobs, or 2.9 percent, in the past year, the Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday.
Seasonal job cuts in July cut a net 200 jobs in the Dalton area, pushing up the monthly jobless rate in the Carpet Capital last month to the highest level since the start of the year. Dalton's nonseasonally adjusted rate in July was 2 percentage points higher than the comparable U.S. jobless rate of 5.6 percent and 1.6 percentage points higher than Georgia's statewide rate of 6 percent last month.
But over the past year, Dalton's unemployment rate still dropped from 9.5 percent in July 2014 to 7.6 percent in July 2015.
Metro Dalton includes Whitfield and Murray counties and is home to the world's biggest carpet and floorcovering manufacturers.
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340