Keeping with historical norms, the unemployment rates for the month of June rose in McMinn and Meigs counties.

According to the State of the Tennessee, the unemployment rate for McMinn County was 6.4%, which is a 1.4% increase from the previous month’s rate of 5%.

Meigs County also increased to 6.7%, which is a 1.6% rise from the 5.1% the county had in May.

According to State of Tennessee Statistical Analyst Patrick Todd, the increase is standard for the month of June.

“It is typically a combination of two things,” Todd said. “Schools usually let out in late May and typically you will see new graduates enter the workforce, so those two things typically give us a spike in unemployment.”

He noted the current increase the two counties experienced was in line with what has traditionally happened in the past prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Looking back at 2018 and 2019 we typically saw an increase of a percent or more,” Todd stated. “Things went up a little and that is kind of what we are looking at here.”

According to Todd it is difficult to say what is “traditional” in rates even looking back to 2018 and 2019.

“When we look back to 2018 and 2019 we were in historically low levels,” Todd expressed. “Things are still a little elevated due the pandemic but looking at the the numbers for this present month there isn’t anything particularly unusual about them.”

The only “unusual” activity that caught Todd’s attention came from Meigs County.

“Meigs County did not see an increase in the labor force and instead went down a little,” he noted. “That may be a little bit unexpected since there is generally an increase, but small counties usually have a little bit of variation so that falls into the realm of typical.”

Looking ahead to the month of July, Todd expects the numbers to be close to their current position.

“There probably won’t be much movement either way, up or down, because schools are usually closed and there is not much to usually drive the numbers one way or the other,” Todd said. “Going into August and September the school stuff usually resumes and the numbers will go back down.”

The national rate rose 0.6% to climb from 5.5% to 6.1%.

For the State of Tennessee, the unemployment rate for the month of June is 5.6%, which is a 1.1% increase from the previous rate of 4.5% in May.

The rate rose in all 95 counties across the state.

That leaves the rate less than 5% in 19 counties, between 5% and 10% in 75 counties and greater than 10% in one county — 13% in Perry County.

Around the area, Bradley County rose 1.4% to a rate of 5.7%, Hamilton County jumped 1.8% to a rate of 6.1%, Loudon County increased by 0.9% to a rate of 3.9%, Monroe County climbed 4.1% to a rate of 5.5%, Polk County rose 1% to a rate of 5.5%, Rhea County jumped 1.3% to a rate of 6.9%, and Roane County climbed 1% for a rate of 5.6%.

Email shane.duncan@

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