Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tennessee Economic and Fiscal Indicators

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research is working with the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to produce a series of data that shows the effects of COVID-19 on Tennessee’s economy. These data are released on a monthly basis, with the exception of initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims; these data are released weekly.

Economic & Fiscal Indicators, by Week

Download the Report (Last Update 11/19/20)


Unemployment Claims, 2006 through November 2020

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  • Tennessee has seen 908,028 initial claims in 34 weeks. There were 6,182 claims this week, the lowest since the pandemic began.
  • Claims decreased by 1,545, after increasing last week. UI claims remain high on historical levels.

Distribution of Initial UI Claims: 11/14/2020

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  • Professional & Business Services had the highest percent of this week’s claims. Unclassified firms (other in the graph) have been associated with many claims during the past thirteen weeks.

  • Leisure & Hospitality represented nearly one-half of claims during the week of 3/21 and the share has been much smaller every week since.

Distribution of Continued UI Claims: 11/7/2020

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  • Continued claims highlight ongoing, aggregated effects across industries. Professional and business services comprises about one-fifth of ongoing claims and leisure and hospitality and trade each account for 15 percent of ongoing claims.

Tennessee Unemployment Claims in 2020

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  • Initial claims have fallen from their historic peak and continued claims are declining rapidly. This week marks the twenty-seventh consecutive week that initial claims have been below the previous historical high of 30,753 (01/10/2009), after 7 weeks above the previous high.
  • Continued claims are a better indicator of the number of individuals drawing from the trust fund. Continued claims have fallen every week since 5/9/20. Continued claims declined 12.7% the week of 11/7/2020.

UI Claims as a Share of the Labor Force, Week Ending 11/14/2020

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  • No county had initial claims above one percent of the labor force and only eight had more than 0.4 percent. Five counties had fewer than 0.1 percent claims.
  • Only Shelby County had continued claims above three percent of its labor force. This is a stark improvement from previous weeks and evidences the rapidly falling continued claims across Tennessee.

Total UI Claims since 3/21 and Percent of Workforce Filing Claims, Week Ending 11/14/2020

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  • More than one in four workers have filed for unemployment in all but two of Tennessee’s nine workforce areas; Greater Memphis exceeds one third. Claims remain lowest among more rural, northern parts of Tennessee, and tend to be higher along the state’s southern border.

Percent Change in New UI Claims since 11/7/2020, Week Ending 11/14/2020

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  • Initial claims declined in seven regions this week

Unemployment Rate by County, September 2020

Last updated 10/22/20

  • Unemployment rates are higher than last September in 92 counties, but rates are moving sharply lower than recent months. Seven counties had rates above seven percent, compared with 31 counties with rates above 10 percent in June. Three counties had rates below four percent in September.

Employment Growth Rate by County, 1-Year Change September 2020

Last updated 10/22/20

  • Every county had less employment in September 2020 than the previous September, but the declines are much less than in previous months. Employment has declined by less than two percent in six counties and more than six percent in five counties.

Local Sales Tax Revenue Growth by County, Oct. 2019-Oct. 2020

Local Tax
  • Sales taxes rose in 94 counties in October. Many counties had very high growth rates leading up to COVID-19, in part because the sales tax on remote sales is now being collected on a destination basis. The pattern continued in October with revenues growing faster than 30 percent in 33 counties.

  • Only Davidson County experienced a sales tax decrease.

Growth in Sales & Use Tax Collections

Sales Use Tax
  • Sales taxes increased 5.8 percent in October after, increasing 1.6 percent in September and 3.8 percent in August. Tax collections are based on sales during the previous month. Tennessee continues to see significant purchases of goods with consumption reductions strongest in eating and drinking places and non-taxable services, such as travel.

Growth in Total Tax Collections

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  • Total tax revenues rose very rapidly until mid-March, rising 11.9 percent in January, 6.8 percent in February and
    6.3 percent in March.

  • Total tax revenues were up 3.4 percent in October. July tax collections were elevated and April collections lowered because deadlines for filing several taxes were delayed until July.

U.S. & Tennessee Unemployment Rate

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  • Tennessee had a 7.4% unemployment rate in October 2020, an increase from September’s 6.5% rate. A rapidly expanding labor force explains part of the rate increase.

  • The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.9% in October, a notable decline from the 14.7% peak in April.

U.S. & Tennessee Total Nonfarm Employment Growth

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  • Total non-farm Tennessee October employment is down 3.5% compared to last year. Tennessee has seen a decline across most sectors, with Leisure & Hospitality down 12.5% and Manufacturing 5.6% lower than last year.

  • The U.S. added 638,000 jobs in October, though employment remains 6.1% below last year. The greatest decline has been in Leisure & Hospitality, falling by 19.9%. Employment has fallen by more than 10% in Mining & Logging.


Released Monthly: Unemployment, Employment Growth, & Local Sales Tax Revenue

October 2020 Report

September 2020 Report

August 2020 Report

July Report (updated 7/23/20)

June 2020 Report

May 2020 Report

April 2020 Report

Note: Employment and sales tax revenue data are released monthly for the month prior, so April's report shows March data. The data are collected mid-month, so in this case the March data will not reflect the effects of COVID-19. That effect will be visible in April's monthly data when it is released in May.