An increase in the unemployment rate for December appears to be brought about by the loss of a few jobs.

In the month of December, Monroe County had an unemployment rate of 3.6%, which was an increase of 0.2% increase from its previous rate of 3.4% from November.

According to State of Tennessee Statistical Analyst Patrick Todd, the increase was slightly concerning.

“You don’t have the labor force increase, in fact it declined a little,” said Todd. “That suggests there might have been some people lose their jobs.”

The basis for this theory comes from the difference in the number of available jobs and the amount people who are unemployed.

“In Monroe the total job numbers were down 20,” said Todd. “That sort of matches up with what the labor force data is telling us.”

He stated that it would take a few months to see if the increase in rate would be anything to be worried about due to an expected increase in January.

“January usually sees an increase as sort of a seasonal thing,” said Todd. “We would have to see where we are in about three months to get through these big seasonal increases to know.”

Some neighboring counties also saw increases and 55 counties across the state saw their rate climb higher. Out of the 95 counties, 12 saw their rates decline and 28 held steady during the month.

That leaves the rate 5% or less in 84 counties and between 5% and 10% in 11.

Around the region, Blount County remained the same with a rate of 2.9%, Loudon County had a 0.1% to increase to 3.2% and McMinn County had a 0.3% increase from its November rate of 3.5% giving it a rate of 3.8% for the month of December.

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