TN 3.3% unemployment rate is lowest in Southeast

News release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips announces a preliminary unemployment rate of 3.3 percent for August, declining one-tenth of a percent from the previous month. This marks an all-time low for the statewide unemployment rate and August is the seventh consecutive month Tennessee has seen a decline in the statistic.

“To see the unemployment rate decrease nearly every month in 2017 is a positive sign,” said Commissioner Phillips. “It shows we are experiencing growth in the state and that the Governor’s programs aimed at spurring that growth are working.”

While Tennessee’s latest unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percent from July’s 3.4 percent, the national unemployment rate increased from 4.3 to 4.4 percent. Over the past year, the state and national rates have declined by 1.5 and five-tenths of a percentage point, respectively.

“The fact Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped three times as fast as the national unemployment rate is remarkable,” Commissioner Phillips noted.  “That decline proves Tennessee is a great place to operate a business, to work and to raise a family.”

Total nonfarm employment increased 8,200 jobs from July to August. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, mining/logging/construction, and educational/health services.

Over the year, nonfarm employment increased 52,200 jobs, with the greatest amount of growth experienced in trade/transportation/utilities, professional/business services, and leisure/hospitality.

Previously, Tennessee marked an historic low unemployment rate in June 2017 at 3.6 percent, which was bested the following month by a 3.4 percent seasonally-adjusted rate.  The August rate of 3.3 percent is the lowest statewide rate since the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the statistic in January 1976.

Note: The Tennessee August rate of 3.3 percent is the eighth lowest in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (HERE) and the lowest level in the Southeast with Arkansas runner-up at 3.5 percent after being tied with Tennessee in July.

The Department of Economic and Community Development is also hailing the low level, as illustrated in an email ECD newsletter:

Tennessee’s unemployment rate hit a record low for the third consecutive month in August. The jobless rate fell to 3.3 percent, the best among the dozen states in the Southeast. One of TNECD’s long-term goals is to have the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast. For the second straight month, Tennessee hit that milestone. But the better news? We didn’t have the share the distinction with Arkansas.

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