TN unemployment rate falls to 4 percent, lowest level since 2001

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 4.0 percent for May, remarkably dropping nearly an entire percentage point from April’s revised rate of 4.7 percent.

Declining one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month, the national preliminary rate now stands at 4.3 percent. “May’s unemployment rate is notable for a couple of reasons,” said Commissioner Phillips.

“It’s the lowest rate Tennessee has seen in about 20 years, which is outstanding, and the state figure is now lower than the national average.”

The last time Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted rate was 4.0 percent or less was March 2001, after reaching 3.9 percent in February 2001.

While the statewide numbers look good for May, we know there are still several distressed counties across Tennessee and we need to focus on the unemployed workers in those areas,” Commissioner Phillips said.  “I am anticipating next week’s county-by-county numbers to see how those parts of the state fared last month.”

Nonfarm employment totals decreased by 200 jobs from April to May. The largest decreases occurred in the transportation/warehousing/utilities, educational services, and retail trade industries. Over the year, 57,500 jobs have been added to nonfarm employment. The largest increases are credited to professional/business services, trade/transportation/utilities, and mining/logging/construction.

Note: This release also appears on the department’s website with charts including more detailed figures, HERE.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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