Both McMinn and Meigs counties saw a decrease in their unemployment rates in February.

According to the State of Tennessee, the unemployment rate in McMinn County dropped 0.2% from the previous month to a rate of 5% and Meigs County fell 0.5% for a rate of 6.3%.

State of Tennessee Statistical Analyst Patrick Todd stated the numbers have decreased across the state.

“For February, this is expected,” Todd said. “Last month was a little unexpected. Typically January is your highest rate, so you usually expect to see it decrease from the spike in January.”

While rates normally rise in January — and did in Meigs — the rate fell in McMinn that month. For February, however, McMinn is back in line with tradition.

He noted the rate for February was just a little higher this year than it was in February of 2020, which had a rate of 4.1% in McMinn County and a rate of 5.1% in Meigs County.

“I believe this is a good sign given the pandemic,” Todd said.

“We are doing better and are down to the low single digits, so I think this is a good sign.”

He noted that most counties have seen a labor force decline.

“That sort of helps drop the rate down, but it is not necessarily a good thing,” Todd noted. “All that said though, this is definitely an improvement.”

He said he hopes the rates for the month of March will continue to follow the current trend of lowering.

“If you can get through the spring it typically shows a downward trajectory,” he noted. “Who knows exactly what kind of fluctuation we could have, but most of the time we see the rate drop.”

Across the area in February, the rate dropped 0.4% in Roane County to 5.3%, decreased 0.9% in Rhea County to 6.3%, fell 0.2% in Polk County to 5%, declined 0.6% in Monroe County to 4.4%, dropped 0.1% in Loudon County to 4.2%, fell 0.6% in Hamilton County to 4.5%, and decreased 0.5% in Bradly County to 4.7%.

Across the nation, the rate slid down 0.2% to 6.6% and the state rate lowered half a percent to 4.9%.

The rate fell 90 counties, while rising in four and staying the same in one. That leaves the rate below 5% in 39 counties, between 5% and 10% in 56 counties and above 10% in none.

The counties to see their rate rise in February were White County (0.2% to 4.9%, Overton County (0.2% to 5.3%, Lake County (0.3% to 8.6%) and DeKalb County (0.1% to 5.5%).

Smith County held steady at 4%.

Email shane.duncan@

dailypostathenian.com

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