Tenn. Officials Should Focus on Education, Jobs, Safety Net

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, February 25, 2013

Though the Great Recession is technically long over, the aftereffects stubbornly linger.

Unemployment in particular remains high. Knox County’s rate is lower than the rate in many places, but that’s cold comfort to those who lost jobs during the economic downturn and have yet to find new ones or are working part time.

Last week the News Sentinel published a series of articles over three days taking a look at the ongoing effects of unemployment on East Tennesseans. The reports were sobering but also help point public policymakers in the right direction for ways to help alleviate the suffering in the Volunteer State.

In December, the official unemployment rate for Tennessee stood at 7.6 percent. That’s down from a high of around 10 percent at the depths of the recession, but it is higher than typically seen in an economic recovery. And it doesn’t tell the whole story. Add in workers who have settled for part-time jobs or have stopped looking for work altogether, and the rate jumps to 13.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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