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The Greater Memphis Chamber released its Greater Memphis MSA Market Overview – COVID-19 Edition on July 2, 2020. The report highlights the state of employment for this region and contains several insights:

  • The Greater Memphis MSA has held competitive unemployment rates against the State of Tennessee and the Nation since the onset of the pandemic. For May 2020, the Greater Memphis MSA held an unemployment rate of 11.2%. This is lower than both the State of Tennessee and the Nation at 11.3 and 13.3, respectively. However, Shelby County held a higher May 2020 rate of 11.6%.
  • Both Initial and Continued Unemployment Insurance Claims increased week-over-week from June 20 to June 27th. This increase could be seen with the release of June 2020 numbers and could reflect headwinds being realized in tandem with the continued increases in COVID-19 cases.
  • Non-farm payrolls (jobs) in the Memphis metropolitan area increased by nearly 15,000 in May 2020, a month-over-month increase of approximately 2.5%. Although employment is still well below pre-pandemic levels, the May 2020 jobs report provides a hopeful picture that labor market activity is returning.
  • Leisure and Hospitality posted the strongest gains in May, adding 8,800 jobs, nearly 30% of jobs lost in April. Other notable increases within industry sectors included Professional and Business Services and Education and Health increasing by 1,900 and 1,700, respectively.
  • Online job postings, a proxy for employer demand, have accelerated rapidly. Since May 2, 2020, online job postings have increased 138%, 19.05% from June 20 to June 27, 2020. While indicative of accelerated demand, opportunities to shift labor market displacement exists – leveraging the skills of displaced workers for in-demand occupations within new industries.

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