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Historic low unemployment rates

Karla Prudhomme
Freelance Writer

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the non-seasonally adjusted employment numbers for November 2021 indicated that the unemployment rates in Johnson County reached a historic low of 3.1 percent. Though Johnson County saw record low unemployment rates in May of 2017, we
are inching closer to reaching
those record unemployment numbers.
According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Volunteer State has experienced drops in the unemployment rate for a fifth consecutive month, bringing Tennessee’s Statewide unemployment rate to 4 percent.
Though all these numbers sound promising, Johnson Countians are concerned with what these numbers mean to them personally.
The low unemployment rates give employees leverage, as businesses have
to compete and pay higher wages to entice job
seekers.
However, higher wages can mean higher prices for consumers, which can mean the family’s budget could get stretched to the limit when coupled with increasing inflation.
According to local business owner Elizabeth Sexton, finding needed employees has “become nearly impossible in the last few months,” as her small “business cannot compete with the increased hourly wages that larger businesses can offer employees.”
The pool of workers continued to decline as the labor participation rate dropped from pre-pandemic levels of 62 percent to its current rate of 60 percent.
There are many reasons why those ages 16 to 65 (average working age) that make up the labor force have dropped out of the labor force, but nevertheless, it
has left a shortage of employees.
The economy continues to rebound after coming out of the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic lockdowns, which is good for local businesses and good news for those seeking to find employment.

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