Tennessee Unemployment Rate in February drops to 5.3 Percent

Louis Holliday

The state's unemployment rate rose from the recently revised 3.2 percent in January, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported on Thursday. The national seasonally adjusted rate was 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent a year before.

Meanwhile, the state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent, the lowest since October 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession.

Outside of the 10-county area, Cherokee was the fourth lowest rate in the state, with Forsyth and Jackson counties at 4.2 percent and Oconee at 4 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for California was 5 percent in February, down from 5.2 percent in January and below the 5.6 percent rate in February 2016. Shelby County is lowest at 4.5 percent followed by Madison County at 5.2 percent.

Last month's biggest gains were made in the government, construction and education and health service sectors.

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John Slenker, state labor analyst, said the January number didn't surprise him due to the fact that 2016 was a good year for jobs.

Both initial claims and weeks claims increased by 194 or 18% and 1,577 or 24.1% respectively for unemployment benefits compared to one year ago.

Data from previous years shows a trend of high unemployment rates to start out the year. I'm pleased to see yet another decline in the unemployment rate, as well as record highs in our labor force and household employment.

The state's labor force rose for the second consecutive month, to more than 2.3 million people. Seven supersectors added jobs from last February.

However, metro area data released Thursday showed Columbus adding a mere 100 jobs since February of past year, with the local job total now at 120,400.

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