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Unemployment rate going up
job loss

It's not the type of news you want to hear before the holidays. 

The unemployment rate inched higher in 93 of Tennessee's 95 counties, according to figures released Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Davidson and Sevier counties were the only two which saw their rates decrease during the month of October.

In Warren County, the unemployment rate was 7.6% in October, up from 6.1% in September.

Williamson County had the lowest rate in the state at 4.6%, followed by Moore County at 4.8%.

The highest unemployment rate for October was Shelby County at 11.0%, according to the state.

During October, two counties had unemployment rates below 5%, 90 counties had rates of 5% or greater, and three counties recorded rates of 10% or higher.

Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate increased during October. The preliminary, seasonally adjusted, statewide unemployment rate for October is 7.4%, an increase of 0.9% from September’s revised rate of 6.5%.

Nationally, unemployment decreased from September’s revised rate of 7.9% to 6.9% in October. The U.S. rate is 3.3% higher than it was in October 2019.

Tennessee employers are ready to help the state’s economy rebound by hiring individuals to meet their business needs., Tennessee’s workforce development website, currently has over 240,000 open positions for workers of varying skill levels.

Group to decide how

vaccine distributed 

ATLANTA (AP) — A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved.

Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older.

Tuesday's meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when -- advice that the government almost always follows. The agenda for next week's emergency meeting was posted Friday.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna Inc. is expected to also seek emergency use of its vaccine soon.

FDA's scientific advisers are holding a public meeting Dec. 10 to review Pfizer's request, and send a recommendation to the FDA.

Manufacturers already have begun stockpiling coronavirus vaccine doses in anticipation of eventual approval, but the first shots will be in short supply and rationed.

S&P 500 closes

at record high

NEW YORK (AP) — The S&P 500 is closing a shortened session at a record high Friday as investors continue to look forward to the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and relief for the economy. 

The benchmark index rose 0.2%, led by gains in technology companies, and closed at an all-time high of 3,638. Optimism about a vaccine persists even as one vaccine candidate suffered a setback and cases of coronavirus remain at elevated levels. 

Meanwhile, retailers were hoping that their slumping sales get a boost from shoppers on Black Friday but early indications are that store traffic was light.

O' Christmas Tree

sales are strong

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Christmas tree growers who have faced increased interest in artificial trees in recent years say demand for real, fresh-cut evergreens is strong this season. Wholesale growers and small farms alike say customers are showing up earlier than normal and there are more of them. 

More Americans are staying home for the holidays amid coronavirus restrictions and want a new — or renewed — tradition to end a dreary year on a happier note. Plus, the Christmas Tree Promotion Board says fresh-cut trees are largely displayed outside, where there’s a lower risk of viral spread.