April figures show TN employment higher, wages lower

Tennessee employers added 45,000 jobs across the state in the past year, lowering the state’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate from 4 percent a year ago to 3.4 percent last month, reports the Times Free Press. But the average hourly wage paid Tennessee workers was lower than a year ago.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that unemployment in the Volunteer State during April was a half percentage point below the U.S. rate of 3.9 percent last month and, not adjusted for seasonal factors, was the lowest monthly rate for unemployment in Tennesse in modern history.

“With the economy being so far into the recovery as it is, it’s getting increasingly difficult to have really high growth rates,” said Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “But we continue to see solid growth in our state, and labor force participation rates continue to improve as more workers come back into the labor market and employers continue to add to their staffs.”

Fox said he expects the economy to remain strong for at least the rest of this year in Tennessee.

A household surey by the U.S. Bureua of Labor Statistics showed the number of Tennesseans on the job rose by 2.2 percent in the past year, or more than 50 percent faster than the U.S. growth pace in jobs of 1.4 percent.

…Despite the relatively low rate of unemployment, average manufacturing wages in Tennesee last month were still 63 cents per hour less than a year ago due to the changing compostion of factory jobs and the lack of any major increase in hourly rates. BLS reported the average manufacturing wage in Tennessee last month was $19.23 an hour, compared with $19.86 an hour a year ago.

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