VOL. 132 | NO. 107 | Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Shelby County Unemployment Slides to 4.4 Percent
All 95 Tennessee counties saw their unemployment rates decrease in April, with Shelby County logging a preliminary rate of 4.4 percent, according to the latest figures from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That’s down 0.9 percentage points from March’s revised rate and down 0.4 points from April 2016.
For comparison, the statewide unemployment rate in April was 4.7 percent, while the nationwide rate was 4.4 percent.
The 10 counties with the lowest rates were centered in Middle Tennessee, with Williamson County reporting the lowest (2.6 percent), and Davidson County just behind it (2.7 percent). Rhea County reported the highest rate (6.6 percent), followed by Lauderdale County (6 percent).
“One year ago, we had eight counties with an unemployment rate above 6 percent. This April, only two counties in the entire state reached that level,” said Labor and Workforce Development commissioner Burns Phillips in a statement. “While we still have work to do, it is clear Tennessee is making progress in putting people to work.”
The Memphis metropolitan statistical area – which includes Shelby, Fayette and Tipton counties in Tennessee as well as portions of North Mississippi and eastern Arkansas – also experienced a decline. April’s preliminary unemployment rate of 4.2 percent marked a 0.8 percentage-point decrease from March’s revised rate and 0.5 percentage-point decrease from April 2016.
– Daily News staff
Bike Month Participants Rewarded With Free Lunch
Commute Options Memphis will host a “Park(less) Picnic(more)” party as a culmination of its monthlong slate of activities for National Bike Month.
The event will be held Wednesday, May 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Health Sciences Park, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Dunlap Street, where food from the Fuel and Stickem food trucks will be available.
The public is invited to enjoy live entertainment by The Word and the food trucks, and Commute Challenge participants with at least one logged commute will receive a free meal.
The challenge has been an ongoing effort throughout May designed to encourage working Memphians to choose alternative transportation options – such as biking, walking, carpooling or public transit – when commuting to and from work.
As of Thursday, May 25, more than 1,075 commutes using alternative transportation had been logged, according to Commute Options Memphis.
About 50 worksites registered to participate in the challenge, including the city of Memphis, Shelby County Health Department, DCA, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, Church Health and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Anyone who logged two or more trips qualified for prizes, such as a riverboat dinner cruise or tickets to The Orpheum Theatre.
“With commuter benefits from cost savings on fuel and parking to improved physical and mental health, we are moving the needle in participating companies’ cultures, and we hope the trend continues beyond the month of May,” said Suzanne Carlson of Innovate Memphis, who oversees the Commute Options program.
– Patrick Lantrip
JLL Signs Contract In Tenn. Outsourcing Plan
Real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle has signed a five-year contract in Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to privatize property management on the campuses of Tennessee’s public colleges and universities.
The state Department of General Services says that the contract that took effect Friday gives colleges and universities the option to outsource services. It’s unclear how many will participate.
The department says the Chicago-based company must retain all current state facilities employees, provided they pass a background check and drug test. JLL says the contract requires employees who transition over to receive compensation equitable to their current state package.
The department expects interested universities to secure cost estimates from the company for their desired services before making decisions.
Jones Lang LaSalle already manages many general state government buildings.
JLL says results of Tennessee’s initial facilities management outsourcing program, which began in 2013 and included 10 percent of state properties, yielded more than $26 million in savings through fiscal 2016 and is on track for $40 million in savings by the end of 2017.
JLL achieved the savings, the company says, by creating efficiencies for maintenance, security, janitorial and landscaping services; implementing preventive maintenance; and adding technology systems that reduce energy costs.
The program garnered innovation awards from the National Association of State Chief Administrators and the National Association of State Procurement Officers in 2014 and 2016. In early May, NASCA hosted officials from 15 states that are considering replicating Tennessee’s program.
“We are excited that Tennessee has become a national model that other states desire to emulate, and has been celebrated with innovation awards from major organizations that recognize Tennessee as a leader in facilities management,” said Tennessee Department of General Services Commissioner Bob Oglesby in a written statement. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with JLL and driving the same kinds of efficiencies to other branches of Tennessee government.”
– The Associated Press & Daily News staff
4 Tigers Players Named To Athlon’s AAC First Team
Four University of Memphis football players were named to Athlon Magazine’s American Athletic Conference preseason first team.
In total, 13 Tigers earned preseason all-conference honors on one of the four teams; the only team in the league with more honors was the University of South Florida.
On the first team for Memphis were senior wide receiver Anthony Miller, senior linebacker Genard Avery, senior punter Spencer Smith, and sophomore kick returner and defending American Special Teams Player of the Year Tony Pollard.
Second team honorees included quarterback Riley Ferguson and offensive linemen Gabe Kuhn and Drew Kyser.
Making the third team were senior running back Doroland Dorceus and senior defensive back Jonathan Cook; Miller earned a third team nod as a punt returner.
Three Tigers earned fourth team recognition: senior wide receiver Phil Mayhue, sophomore defensive lineman Jonathan Wilson and junior linebacker Curtis Akins.
– Don Wade
WREG Ranks No. 1 In Weekday Newscasts
WREG-TV News Channel 3 was ranked No. 1 in every weekday newscast during the May sweeps measurement period for the first time since July 2014, according to Nielsen Media Research.
WREG topped other stations in every weekday time slot, including early morning through 7 a.m., 9 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. In addition to winning weekdays, WREG topped the ratings in all but one weekend newscast.
The Nielsen ratings are for the 28-day period from April 27 to May 24.
– Andy Meek