Plenty of options for Tennessee's unemployed

Options for Tennessee's unemployed

BRISTOL, TN - The national unemployment rate sits at 7.5 percent for April, down 0.4 percent since the start of the year. Tennessee has an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent ,up 0.1 percent since February.

These statistics may be troubling for new high school and college graduates, as well as current job seekers. However, there is good news.

Tennessee has 245,500 people classified as unemployed. The Tri-Cities are home to almost 18,000. Johnson City has close to 7,400. Bristol and Kingsport combine for just over 10,000.

Even though there are so many people out of work here, Scott Morefield, manager of @Work Personnel Services, says there are jobs here, but it may not be the job you have always dreamed of having. "You might need to lower that bar for a little bit, and just take something because there are jobs out there," said Morefield. "A lot of the jobs out there are entry-level, not the huge-paying jobs right away, but those jobs do promote from within."

Morefield told News 5 that it can be great for someone between jobs to expand the skill set they have. A period of unemployment is a great time to learn something new.

Morefield added that the best thing is to try and stay working. "Any job is better than no job. Right now, if you've got a big gap in your employment, then that's a problem, that's a red flag. So if you can stay working, even if it's a job you are way overqualified for, it shows that you are trying," said Morefield.

So how can new college graduates avoid becoming one of the 2,800 unemployed in Bristol, Va., or adding to the 5,000 out-of-work residents of Sullivan County?

Dr. Dave Magee, Director of East Tennessee State University's Career Services says it can be as simple as who you know. "It's not enough anymore to go online and find an available position, submit an online application. That's what everybody does, and it's much less effective than networking and interacting with people," said Dr. Magee.

You can learn more about @Work at

For more information, check out these documents:

Getting Back In The Workforce Toolkit (1.8mb PDF)

March 2013 Labor Report (60kb PDF)

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