Tennessee jobless rate falls below U.S. average

Tennessee jobless rate falls below U.S. average

March 1st, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

A workman cuts into a fitting at JV Northwest in Camby, Ore. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Unemployment fell below the national average in Tennessee for the first time in 14 months during January.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development said today that January's jobless rate fell by three-tenths of a percent to 8.2 percent. The state's jobless rate was below the U.S. rate of 8.3 percent in January, the first time since November 2010 that the job market was better in Tennessee than the U.S. as a whole.

"This month the numbers show an increase of 12,700 jobs so we are seeing positive growth in private industry," Labor Commissioner Karla Davis said in a statement today. "The net gains are chipping away at the dramatic loss of jobs during the recession."

The number of unemployed persons in Tennessee during January, 257,500, is the lowest since November 2008. The number of employed Tennesseans, nearly 2.9 million, was the highest in January since March 2008.

"Year-over-year the amount of goods production, specifically construction and durable goods manufacturing, was very strong," University of Tennessee Economist Bill Fox said.