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.

Unemployment Claims, 2006 through September 2020

  • Tennessee has seen 825,066 initial claims in 26 weeks, with over 10,000 claims again this week.
  • Claims decreased by 1,539 this week after also falling last week, but remain historically high.

Distribution of Initial UI Claims: 9/12/2020

  • Initial Claims for 9/12 were distributed relatively evenly between Leisure & Hospitality and Professional & Business Services. Unclassified firms (other in the graph) have been associated with many claims during the past eight 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: 9/5/2020

  • Continued claims highlight ongoing, aggregated effects across industries. Leisure and hospitality accounts for nearly one-fourth of ongoing claims. Professional and business services and trade also have high shares of continued claims.

Tennessee Unemployment Claims in 2020

  • Initial claims have fallen from their historic peak and continued claims are declining rapidly. This week marks the nineteenth 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 by 11% the week of 9/5/2020.


UI Claims as a Share of the Labor Force, Week Ending 9/12/2020

  • Only Houston County had initial claims above one percent of the labor force, a significant improvement compared with the past several weeks.
  • Shelby, Haywood, and Davidson counties have the highest percent of continued claims.

Total UI Claims since 3/21 and Percent of Workforce Filing Claims, Week Ending 9/12/2020

  • More than one in four workers have filed for unemployment in five of Tennessee’s nine workforce areas, and Greater Memphis exceeds 30 percent. 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 9/5/2020, Week Ending 9/12/2020

  • Claims decreased in every region this week.

Unemployment Rate by County, July 2020

Last updated 8/27/20

Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment rates are higher in all Tennessee counties than last July. Seventeen counties had rates above 10 percent, compared with 31 counties in June. High rates are spread across the state, but rates tend to be somewhat lower across counties along the northern state border.


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

Last updated 8/27/20

Employment Growth Rate

  • Every county had less employment in July 2020 than the previous July, with middle Tennessee generally experiencing the largest decreases. Employment has declined by more than 10 percent in 81 counties.


Local Sales Tax Revenue Growth by County, July 2019-July 2020

Last updated 9/17/20

  • Ninety-three Tennessee’s counties saw sales taxes rise in August. 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 July with 25 counties having revenues grow more than 30 percent.

  • Davidson and Moore counties experienced sales tax decreases.

Growth in Sales & Use Tax Collections

Last updated 9/17/20

  • Sales taxes increased 3.8 percent in August after increasing 6.3 percent in July. Tax collections are based on sales during the previous month. For this period many businesses throughout the state had fully reopened. 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

Last updated 9/17/20


  • 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 1.9 percent in August. July tax collections were elevated because deadlines for filing several taxes were moved to July.

U.S. & Tennessee Unemployment Rate

Last updated 9/17/20

Note: U.S. data for August released on September 4th. Tennessee data for August released September 18th.


  • Tennessee had a 8.5% unemployment rate in August 2020, a decline from July’s 9.7% rate. Tennessee’s August rate was approximately equal to the national rate..
  • The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in August, a notable decline from the 14.7% peak in April.

U.S. & Tennessee Total Nonfarm Employment Growth

Last updated 9/17/20

  •  Total Non-farm Tennessee August employment is down 5.1% compared to last year. Tennessee has seen a decline across most sectors, with Leisure & Hospitality down 16.5% and Manufacturing 8.9% lower than last year.
  • The U.S. added 1.4 million jobs in August, though employment remains 6.8% below last year. The greatest decline has been in Leisure & Hospitality, falling by 23.2%. Employment has fallen by more than 10% in Mining & Logging.

UI Claims Data, by Week

Download the Report (Last Update 9/17/20)

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

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.