New unemployment claims still remain high across the state

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, June 3, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
As employers do all they can to fill their labor needs, the latest data from the TN.gov/workforce website suggest that individuals continue to file new claims weekly with 6,695 new filings reported for the week ending on May 29, 2021.

That number was up from 689 from the previous week as 49,280 individuals are still receiving continuing unemployment checks throughout the state.

It is unknown whether these numbers will decrease by July 1st, 2021 when the extra $300 per week of federal unemployment aid will cease as Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced that the state will voluntarily stop taking the extra money as there is a need for Tennesseans to return to work.

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On a recent visit to Elizabethton, Governor Bill Lee said, “We have 250,000 jobs that are unfilled and our businesses are struggling to find workers. Meanwhile, we have 160,000 people in our state on unemployment and our economy is back to pre-pandemic levels and we need to get our businesses back to normal and move forward.

“In order to do that, we need to create pathways for people to go from unemployment to the vast amount of employment that is available in our state. Work brings dignity, work is good for families, work is good for Tennesseans, and we shouldn’t continue to pay people not to do that.”

Several local businesses are still struggling to find help as many are not seeking unemployment forcing those businesses to adjust the way they normally operate with many keeping their lobbies closed and using only drive-through service as they cannot fill their open positions.

To assist some of the local businesses, the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a job fair on June 17th from 11 am to 6 pm to assist those who may be in need of employment.

The event is open to the job-seeking public and will be held at the Elizabethton Chamber Office located at 615 E. Elk. Avenue with registration recommended to receive business contacts and event updates.

Some of the local employers hiring include Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Planet Fitness, AYM Inc., Snap-On, International Paper, Big John’s Closeouts, and the CIty of Elizabethton just to name a few.

There have been a total of $68,083,615 paid out in unemployment since March 1, 2020, with the Federal Government covering $57,510,269 of that total and the State of Tennessee covering $8,573,345.

The website shows that Carter County still has 264 continuous weekly claims. Sullivan County has the highest number of continuous weekly claims with 836 while Washington (625) and Greene County (388) still have high levels of claims.

Unicoi County and Johnson County have the two lowest rates of the neighboring counties with Unicoi County showing a total of 98 and Johnson County only 39.