Unemployment in Tennessee up 1,300%; state working to partner unemployed workers with new jobs

Business closures in Tennessee have led to tens of thousands of jobs lost. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Business closures in Tennessee have led to tens of thousands of jobs lost. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Business closures in Tennessee have led to tens of thousands of jobs lost. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

With the number of cases of the coronavirus in Tennessee continuing to rise, businesses in the Greater Nashville area remain closed as residents continue to practice social distancing, causing more job losses by the day.

“We have thousands and thousands of workers losing their jobs every day, and that has a powerfully negative impact on the lives of Tennesseans.” Governor Bill Lee said in a March 26 press conference.

Lee said last week the department received 39,000 new unemployment claims across the state, a 1,300% increase over claims from the week prior, which totaled 2,700.

“We know that it is actually going to increase as the weeks move ahead,” Lee said. “There are profound implications to the spread of this virus, which is why it is so important that each of do our part to look beyond when this virus is ravaging the state at its highest point, and we can make that happen more quickly by following the individual responsibilities that we have given as guidance and that have been part of the national conversation.”

To help stem job loss in the region, Lee said the state is partnering with associations for grocery, convenience and retail stores as well as the hospitality association to create The Tennessee Talent Exchange, which aims to match workers who have recently become unemployed with industries in need of immediate workers.


“The goal of the exchange is to provide an opportunity to match Tennesseans who are out of work because of COVID-19, match them with companies that are, in fact, currently experiencing a surge in business and making immediate hires,” Lee said.

Lee said he is also hopeful that a relief package of more than $2 trillion, currently awaiting approval in the U.S. House of Representatives, could also help to provide financial assistance as well as funding to continue fighting the spread of the coronavirus. Lee said he estimates Tennessee could receive between $2 billion to $3 billion, although details have not yet been finalized.

“We certainly hope, for the sake of America, that that bill gets passed and that that relief funding begins to make its way to the states,” he said. “That relief funding will provide quick relief to businesses and to individuals.”

Additionally, Jeff McCord, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, said the department has assigned 100 additional workers to help file unemployment claims and reduce the time it takes to process them.

Workers who have become recently unemployed can file a claim online at www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


MOST RECENT

Westhaven (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Westhaven Town Center complete; incumbents re-elected to Brentwood City Commission and more top news from the Nashville area

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Brentwood and Franklin in the Nashville area.

The city celebrated the grand opening of the new police headquarters on Heritage Way in April. (Photos courtesy city of Brentwood)
City of Brentwood debuts $29 million police headquarters

The $29 million project, which is funded through the city’s capital improvement program, features more than 56,000 square feet of space, a far cry from the department’s existing offices at Brentwood City Hall. The department is expected to move employees to the new space by June 1, according to the city.

Owners Robin and Shawn Davis opened the Franklin location of Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish on Murfreesboro Road in 2014. (Photos courtesy Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish)
Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish offers a hot take on fried chicken and fish

While heat levels range from the original, no-heat option to Death Row, owner Shawn Davis said he recommends first-time diners start with a lower heat level and work their way up.

Three incumbents retained their seats on the Brentwood City Commission. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
3 incumbents re-elected to Brentwood City Commission

Results from the May 4 Brentwood city elections are in.

Three spots on the Brentwood City Commission are up for grabs this year. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Incumbents take early lead in Brentwood City Commission election

See live coverage of the Brentwood City Commission election here.

Fire damage caused the Red Pony to temporarily shut down its Main Street location in Franklin. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Red Pony reopens at temporary location while completing repairs from fire

The restaurant's location on Main Street has been closed since late January, when a fire caused damage to the building.

Work on the Southeast Municipal Complex is underway in Franklin. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Transportation updates: 3 road projects in Franklin, Brentwood to watch

Take a look at local road projects coming down the pipeline.

There are a number of eateries in Franklin and Brentwood to find breakfast dishes and pastries. (Courtesy Sugar Drop)
GUIDE: 18 places to get breakfast and brunch in Franklin, Brentwood

Which one of these brunch spots is on your list to try?

Buff City Soap opened in Franklin May 6. (Courtesy Buff City Soap)
Buff City Soap now open in Franklin

The shop sells handmade soap bars in a variety of scents.

Tori Cozert and her mother, Tammy Ringenberg, took ownership of AR Workshop Franklin last July. (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mother-daughter team makes creative environment for crafting in at AR Workshop Franklin in Cool Springs

Projects at the workshop include wood items, such as painted boards, planters, pillows and lazy Susans, as well as soft items, such as pillows, canvas tote bags and knit blankets, a popular item in colder months.

The city of Brentwood's police and fire departments will host a blood drive May 5.  (Courtesy Sanford Myers and American Red Cross)
Brentwood to host Battle of the Badges blood drive May 5

The drive comes as the American Red Cross is reporting a critical need for blood donations.

Active cases in Williamson County have dropped by 33% in the last month. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County active COVID-19 cases drop to lowest levels since September

Active cases have dropped by 1/3 in the last month, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health.