What does this measure?
Unemployed individuals are those without jobs who are able, available and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the total labor force (the total number of employed and unemployed non-institutionalized individuals 16 or older).
Why is this important?
Unemployment rates are a timely indicator of current local economic conditions, particularly recent changes in the employment landscape that reflect the overall health of the economy.
How is our region performing?
In 2015, the unemployment rate in the 9-county region was 5.4%, down from 6.1% in 2014. That was below the state level (5.8%) and on par with the national level (5.3%). Throughout the decade, the region generally fared better than Tennesee and the nation. The region's rate rose from a low of 4.0% in 2007 to a peak of 9.5% in 2009; the rate fell in each of the years since the peak. Among the counties, 2015 unemployment was lowest in Knox County (4.8%) and highest in Union County (6.9%).
Notes about the data
The unemployment rate represents only those who are actively seeking employment and does not account for under-employment or discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs. Also, county-level estimates are based on relatively small samples, and the true number of unemployed residents may therefore vary considerably from the estimate. The rates reported here are averages of monthly rates.