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Perry Now One of Eight ‘Distressed Counties’ Instead of Fifteen

Governor Bill Lee announced that the number of distressed counties in the state has reduced to eight, the fewest in Tennessee history, marking a significant milestone in the Lee administration’s mission to accelerate the transformation of rural Tennessee.

Perry County remains designated as “distressed.” The other seven counties in this group are Lake, Hardeman, Clay, Bledsoe, Scott, Hancock, and Cocke.

“In 2019, we began an administration-wide mission to expand opportunity for Tennesseans in rural areas, and our strategic workforce and infrastructure investments have resulted in an historic reduction of our state’s distressed counties,” said Gov. Lee.

“What happens in rural Tennessee matters to all of Tennessee. As Tennessee experiences unprecedented economic growth and job creation, we’ll continue our work to prioritize rural communities so that Tennesseans in every county can thrive.”

According to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Grundy and Morgan counties advanced out of the distressed designation this year, reducing the total number of distressed counties from fifteen to eight since 2019.

The ARC applies the term distressed to “the most economically depressed counties…that rank in the worst ten percent of the nation’s counties.”

The three economic indicators considered by the ARC in making the designation:

the three-year average unemployment rate as a measure of long-term structural unemployment., calculated by dividing the three-year sum of persons unemployed by the three-year sum of the civilian labor force and expressing the result as a percentage.

–per capita market income calculated by dividing total personal income, less transfer payments, by population. Transfer payments include retirement and disability insurance benefit payments, medical payments, income maintenance benefit payments, unemployment insurance benefit payments, veterans benefit payments, and other such payments.

the poverty rate, computed by dividing the number of persons living below the poverty threshold by the number of persons for whom poverty status has been determined.

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