Tennessee jobless rate falls to 4.7 percent

Tennessee jobless rate falls to 4.7 percent

Monthly drop is the biggest in 33 years

May 18th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Breaking News

Unemployment in Tennessee fell by the biggest monthly amount in more than 33 years during April, cutting the state's jobless rate to 4.7 percent last month.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said today that employers added 57,000 jobs over the past year, growing employment by 1.9 percent. Although Tennessee's jobless rate remained 0.3 percentage points above the U.S. average during April, Tennessee's unemployment rate still fell four time more than the U.S. decline of one tenth of a percentage point during April.

"It's great to see fewer Tennesseans were out of work during the month of April," Tennessee Labor Commissioner Burns Phillips said. "Every drop in the unemployment rate, even a few tenths of a percent, represents a person who is back in the workforce and a family who is resting a little easier at night.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has not declined so much in a single month since January of 1984. But the state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate last month was still a tenth of a percentage point higher than the 4.6 percent jobless rate in the state in April 2016.

In the household survey last month, the number of Tennesseans saying they were on the job rose by 2.4 percent in the past year, or by 72,100 workers. The number of jobless Tennesseans dropped by 10.8 percent, or by 14,100 workers, in the past 12 months, state job figures show.

Tennessee's job growth far outpaced the U.S. employment growth of 1.4 percent in the household surveys by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It is the goal of everyone in this department, and that of our workforce partners across the state, to do everything possible to help Tennesseans go back to work, so when we compare year-to-year numbers, we see progress there as well," Phillips said.

Despite the drop in unemployment last month, factory worker wages remain muted in Tennessee. The average manufacturing hourly wage rate in Tennessee fell during April by 13 cents per hour from the previous month. Tennessee's average manufacturing wage rate of $19.15 per hour was 7.8 percent less than the U.S. hourly wage average of $20.76 in April.