Search the database: Which Tennessee cities and counties have the highest unemployment rates?

Memphis and Shelby County led the state with the highest unemployment rates among Tennessee cities and counties in June, according to data released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

But the impact of coronavirus pandemic-related business closures has caused unemployment rates to swell throughout the state, if unevenly.

Unemployment rate data from June is the most recent available, with rates for July due to be released in August. July brought spikes in COVID-19 cases in parts of Tennessee and other areas of the country, raising concerns about reopening businesses. The overall impact has yet to be determined, but some recent markers are grim.

In less than five months, 54.1 million people in the United States filed first-time unemployment claims, including another 1.4 million who filed last week. The U.S. Commerce Department reported Thursday that the country saw its worst performance on record in the second quarter, contracting 32.9% as the pandemic shutters businesses yet again.

From June 28 through July 25, 93,529 Tennesseans filed first-time unemployment claims.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached a record-breaking high of 15.5% in April, and has since fallen to an estimated 9.7% in June.

Despite an overall downward trend statewide, some Tennessee cities and counties saw their unemployment rates rise in June.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released city data only for cities with populations of 25,000 or more.

In Memphis, the unemployment rate increased from 12.9% to 15.3% from May to June. Columbia’s 14% unemployment rate for June is the second highest in the state, but the city’s rate actually improved significantly from May, when it logged an 18.8% unemployment rate.

Of Tennessee’s 95 counties, 74 saw rates decrease in June, 14 saw rates increase, and four remained the same, according to the state department of labor.

None of the counties have an unemployment rate that is less than 5%. Before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the economy, the state’s overall unemployment rate in March came in at 3.3%.

62 counties have an unemployment rate equal or greater than 5% but less that 10%. The June unemployment rate in the remaining 33 counties is between 10% and 19%.

Counties with the 10 highest unemployment rates

  • Shelby County, 13.2%
  • Grundy County, 13.1%
  • Cocke County and Warren County, 12.7%
  • Marshall County and Sevier County, 12.6%
  • Davidson County, 12.1%
  • Haywood County, 11.8%
  • DeKalb County and Lauderdale County, 11.6%
  • Van Buren County, 11.3%
  • Maury County, 11.1%
  • Lincoln County, Perry County and Rhea County, 10.8%

Counties with the 10 lowest unemployment rates

  • Williamson County, 6.7%
  • Crockett County, 6.8%
  • Pickett County, 7.2%
  • Chester County, Hickman County, Humphreys County, Overton County and Stewart County, 7.4%
  • Dickson County, 7.6%
  • Moore County, 7.7%
  • Cheatham County, Morgan County, Roane County and Weakley County, 7.8%
  • Knox County and Smith County, 7.9%
  • Loudon County and Obion County, 8%
  • Fentress County and Trousdale County, 8.1%

Cities with the 10 highest unemployment rates

Data released by the state department of labor includes unemployment rates only for cities with populations greater than 25,000.

  • Memphis, 15.3%
  • Columbia, 14%
  • LaVergne, 12.9%
  • Nashville, 12.1%
  • Smyrna, 11.9%
  • Clarksville and Jackson, 11.3%
  • Chattanooga, 11.2%
  • Gallatin and Kingsport, 11.1%
  • Lebanon, 11%
  • Murfreesboro, 10.8%

Includes reporting from USA Today

Reach Cassandra Stephenson at or at (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.


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