Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
Weekend edition March 15, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

Unemployment ticks up, worker shortage worsens, but companies continue to thrive!

The Knoxville Chamber shares the ECO Report each month. It breaks down the economic outlook from various industires in Knoxville/Knox County.

According to data collected by the Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville MSA’s unemployment rate in January 2024 was 3.3 percent, up from 2.8 percent in December. It’s not a significant difference; however, Knox County also saw a similar trend. The county’s unemployment rate in January was 3 percent, up from 2.6 percent in December.

The good news is that Knoxville and Knox County have a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the state. Across the board, about 3.5 percent of Tennessee residents are unemployed. Tennessee is above the national average, which was 3.7 percent unemployed in January in the United States.

Despite that fact, WalletHub, a personal finance website, published rankings of states and the District of Columbia based on the difficulty employers face in hiring workers. Factors considered include the rate of job openings over the past month and year. Despite positive national trends in labor force participation and low unemployment rates, many businesses struggle to find workers, particularly in certain states. Tennessee was ranked 10th in this regard.

The worker shortage is posing problems for many businesses in Knox County, but it’s not slowing down economic development efforts. Companies continue to grow, invest, and plan in the area.

One example shared by the Knoxville Chmaber is Type One Energy, a leading stellarator fusion energy company. It was the first recipient of funding through Tennessee’s $50 million Nuclear Energy Fund.  The company announced it will invest $223.5 million to establish its corporate headquarters somewhere in the Knoxville area and expand its research and development operations at TVA’s Bull Run Fossil Plant in Anderson County’s Claxton community. The expansion will create a total of 330 new jobs.

Also, Sky Nano, an Innovation Crossroads cohort 1 company, and previous participant in the Spark Innovation Center, will be celebrating an expansion next week. Co-Founder and CEO, Anna Douglas shared that her company will be moving its headquarters into a new, larger lab space in Louisville. plans to cover the ribbon cutting on the new facility next week.

To read more from the Eco report, visit the Chmaber’s website.

Like what you've read?

Forward to a friend!

Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!