Coronavirus has 'staggering' effects on Tennessee's unemployment rate, new data shows

Coronavirus-related business closures have led to a sharp increase in the state's unemployment rate. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus-related business closures have led to a sharp increase in the state's unemployment rate. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)

Coronavirus-related business closures have led to a sharp increase in the state's unemployment rate. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)

New data released May 21 by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows the state's unemployment rate in April more than quadrupled that of March, rising to 14.1%.

Rates for January, February and March were all at just of 3% before businesses began closing in March, leading to widespread furloughs and a spike in residents filing for unemployment benefits.

The April rate is the highest the state has seen in nearly 40 years, according to the department. In 1982-83, the state saw a 12.9% rate over a two-month period.

More than 376,000 jobs were lost from March to April, according to the department. The hardest-hit industries were hospitality, manufacturing and professional services.

Additionally, since March 15, the state has paid more than $359 million in unemployment benefits.


Unemployment rates by county are expected to be announced May 28.

See the full announcement from the department of labor here.
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.