Unemployment Graph

Unemployment claims surged last week across Tennessee's nine distinct regions, with northern Middle Tennessee being hit the hardest.

Amidst a surge of layoffs spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Tennessee Department of Labor (TDL) announced Thursday morning that it had seen a roughly 1,347 percent increase in unemployment claims across the state, using data from last week when compared to the week prior. 

Thursday afternoon, the TDL released more data on the surge of unemployment claims, breaking down the numbers into nine distinct regions.

Northern Middle Tennessee - which comprises 13 counties including Williamson County - was, by far, hit the hardest.

The total number of new unemployment claims in the state during the week ending on March 21 was 39,096 - for comparison, the week prior saw just 2,702 claims. Of those 39,096 claims, more than 43 percent of them came from northern Middle Tennessee, for a total of 16,993 claims.

Even when accounting for the high population of the region, those 16,993 claims represent roughly .86 percent of the region’s total population of nearly 2 million. The region with the next highest rate of new unemployment claims was Southeast Tennessee, which saw 4,211 claims, or roughly .58 percent of its total population of around 720,000.

The least-affected region was Northwest Tennessee, which saw only 511 new unemployment claims, or roughly .2 percent of its total population of nearly 250,000.

The TDL called the surge in unemployment claims “unprecedented” earlier on Thursday, and has moved to train hundreds of employees to help address the wave of Tennesseans flooding its offices.