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March jobless rates up; Kingsport 11.6%, Morristown 18.1%, Johnson City 8%, Bristol 8.5%

Don Fenley • Apr 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The recent local and area layoffs drove unemployment rates up across the board in Northeast Tennessee cities with a population above 25,000 during March.

Kingsport’s unadjusted rate increased to 11.6 percent for March — up from 10.6 percent the previous month.

Morristown’s rate rose to 18.1 percent, up from 15.8 percent. That’s the highest rate for Northeast Tennessee cities.

Johnson City’s rate increased to 8 percent, up from 7.6 percent, and Bristol’s rate stood at 8.5 percent for the month, up from 7.5 percent last month.

Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 9.6 percent versus the revised February rate of 9.0 percent. The United States’ unemployment rate for the month of March was 8.5 percent.

Lincoln County registered the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 6.9 percent, down from 7.0 percent in February. Perry County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 25.4 percent, up from 24.1 in February, followed by Scott County at 18.8 percent, up from 18.0 percent in February.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.3 percent. Davidson County was 7.9 percent, Hamilton County was 8.0 percent, and Shelby County was 8.9 percent.

Here’s how the unadjusted rates for Northeast Tennessee counties looked in Thursday’s Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development report:

•Carter County — 10.1 percent.

•Grainger County — 14 percent.

•Greene County — 15.2 percent.

•Hamblen County — 12.1 percent.

•Hawkins County — 11.1 percent.

•Johnson County — 12.2 percent.

•Sullivan County — 8 percent.

•Unicoi County — 11.4 percent.

•Washington County — 8.1 percent.

The next step up in the demographic measurement is for Micropolitan and Metropolitan Statistical Districts.

In that category Greeneville had a 15.2 percent jobless rate. Morristown’s MSA stood at 12.7 percent unemployment, and the Kingsport-Bristol TN-VA MSA’s rate was 8.9 percent — up from 8.5 percent the prior month.

Johnson City’s MSA in March was 9 percent, up from 8.5 percent the prior month.

The Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area unadjusted rate for March was 8.9 percent, up from 8.5 percent the prior month.

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