Tennesseans are filing for unemployment in record numbers, yet a new report from the Sycamore Institute says the state’s unemployment benefits and related employer taxes are among the lowest in the nation. As the coronavirus pandemic continues with a potential second wave expected, more families are relying on unemployment insurance to stay financially afloat.
U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that Rutherford County saw an unemployment rate of 16.7% in April and then that rate dropped to 12.6% in May. Tennessee as a whole has an unemployment rate of 11.3% for the most recent month reviewed, May 2020. That number is significantly lower when compared to April of this year when the jobless rate climbed to 15.5%
Sycamore Institute policy director Mandy Pellegrin says COVID-19 has left many wondering what the future holds for the state's system.
According to the report, Tennessee's unemployment insurance program provided benefits to around 21 percent of unemployed workers during the first quarter of this year. The state currently ranks in the bottom eight among states for the number of out-of-work residents who are receiving benefits.