Published: October 5, 2009
The economic downturn has struck Rutherford County is many ways, mostly stemming from job losses and a high unemployment rate.
Rutherford County's jobless rate for August may have been 10.1, down .1 percent from the previous month, but that’s almost double the 5.9 percent registered last August.
The county is slightly better than the state, which saw an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from the July. The August rate a year ago was 6.6 percent. The national unemployment rate for August 2009 was 9.7 percent, up from the July rate of 9.4 percent.
The job losses have increased the number of people living without health insurance and slowed housing construction in the county.
Rutherford County is still fairing better on the insurance front than most of the state, with only 14.7 percent uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Neighboring Bedford County is near the top of the list marking 21.1 percent uninsured, compared to Lauderdale County, home to the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, which boosts a rate of 11.5 percent.
Rutherford County’s rate is in line with the state average of 14.7 percent, which is up over the last three years from 13.6 percent.
As a whole the nation’s uninsured number 46.3 million or 15.5 percent, which is up over 2007 by almost 2 million.
The number of Americans who receive health insurance from their employer is also down from 59.3 percent in 2007 to 58.5 percent in 2008.
The economic crisis also hit the county’s housing sector fairly hard.
From 2000 to 2008, Rutherford County was the 36th fastest growing county in the nation in terms of housing units.
In the first eight years of this decade, the county added 31,092 houses to its stock, which is an increase of 44 percent.
Over the same period, Williamson County added 33.7 percent, coming in at 98th nationally.
But over the past year, the growth has slowed. RuCo has dropped to 68th on the list only adding 2,882 house from 2007-2008, or 2.9 percent.
Fayette County comes in at 17th, adding 4.4 percent to its housing stock. Wilson and Williamson counties come in at 91st and 95th respectively, both seeing an increase in houses of 2.7 percent.