March unemployment rate falls to 11.4 percent

By Jeff Whitten

March unemployment rate falls to 11.4 percent

The March unemployment rate for McNairy County fell 1.1 percentage points to 11.4 percent from 12.5 percent in February, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 

The county unemployment rate has fallen by 2.1 percentage points over the past year.  

Though the labor market fell by 10 to 11,100, the number of people employed increased by 110 to 9,830 and the number of unemployed fell by 120 to 1,270.

“It seems to be a reflection of what is going on nationally and at the state level, but overall we have stemmed the flow of job loss,” said Mayor Jai Templeton. “We got a long way to go to recovery, but I am hopeful.”

McNairy Regional Alliance (MRA) Executive Director Ted Moore said there have been three or four companies in the county that have hired people or called laid off workers back.

“Maybe this is the start of a trend,” he said.

Russell Ingle, Director of Chamber Programs for MRA said, “These new numbers shows that there are signs of life out there.”

“We’re very proud of that,” he said about companies hiring and calling back laid off employees.

About the county he said, “We are in a very favorable position, though we would like for things to move faster.”

Ingle pointed out that McNairy County is one of thousands competing for a handful of opportunities.

McNairy County was in the final three for a German company, but as a small rural county, couldn’t offer the incentives necessary to make the cut, Moore said.

The Toyota plant in Tupelo, Miss., which is scheduled to go into production of the Corolla model in the fall of this year, will be using existing suppliers, he said. 

“Maybe down the road, suppliers will relocate,” Moore said.

One Japanese prospect told Moore that it will decide on a location by early summer or late fall.

Moore revealed he met with one prospect interested in Adamsville, and “felt very good” about it.

Of surrounding Tennessee counties, Chester County’s unemployment was the lowest with a rate of 9.9 percent. Both Hardin County’s rate of 11.5 and Hardeman County’s rate of 12.3 percent were higher than McNairy County’s.

The state unemployment rate was 9.5, which was unchanged from the previous month and the national rate fell by 0.1 percentage points, to 8.9 percent.

The non-seasonally adjusted rate fell in 93 counties and increased in only two.

Lincoln County had the lowest unemployment rate, at 6.1 percent and Scott County had the highest at 21.9 percent. Unemployment rates fell from February by 0.5 in Lincoln County and by 0.7 percent in Scott County.

Of the state’s metropolitan counties, Knox County had the lowest rate at 7 percent, followed by Hamilton County at 8.1 percent, Davidson County at 8.4 percent and Shelby County at 10.1 percent. 

Knox and Hamilton counties both fell 0.6 percentage points, while Davidson and Shelby counties both fell by 0.3 percentage points, from the previous month.