Unemployment in Tennessee rose last month to the highest monthly level in nine months as Tennessee employers shed 4,400 jobs across the state, according to new seasonally adjusted job estimates released Thursday.
Tennessee's jobless rate edged up two-tenths of a percent in November to 3.5% — its highest rate since February.
Jobless in November
— Georgia's unemployment was unchanged at 3.4%.
— Tennessee's unemployment rose to 3.5%, up from 3.3% in October.
— U.S. unemployment fell to 3.7% from 3.9% in October.
Sources: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Georgia Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the state's jobless rate remained below the U.S. average of 3.7%, and Tennessee employers continued to list nearly twice as many open jobs at state career centers as the number of unemployed Tennesseans still looking for work.
Despite a decrease of 4,400 nonfarm jobs during November in Tennessee, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that Tennessee employers increased their payrolls by 19,500 workers during the past 12 months. That kept unemployment unchanged from its level a year ago and still at historically low levels heading into the Christmas holidays.
With new businesses forming in the third quarter at a record high pace in Tennessee, University of Tennessee economist Don Bruce said he expects the state's economy to continue to improve next year and avoid the recession once predicted by many economists.
"The recording-setting number of new business filings in the third quarter shows the Tennessee economy remains healthy and should continue to see strong growth in employment and income," Bruce, the director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, said in a report last week. "This all reflects Tennessee's status as a fantastic place to live and do business."
In neighboring Georgia, unemployment last month remained unchanged at 3.4%, just a half percentage point above the record low reached last spring and still well below the national average. Georgia employers added 103,700 more jobs during the past year, including 14,300 new jobs in November.
"This holiday season, the greatest gift we can give Georgians is a future filled with opportunity," Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson said in a report Thursday. "With record-high job numbers, a thriving economy that stands among the nation's best and a workforce eager to embrace new opportunities, Georgia is poised to enter the new year with hope and boundless possibilities for all."
Tennessee's seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate, which measures the share of adults who are in the labor market working or seeking employment, remained steady at 59.4%. That remains below the 62.7% participation rate for the U.S. as a whole and remains below pre-pandemic levels as more Tennesseans are staying out of the workforce to go to school, take care of children or retire earlier despite the tight labor market.
The labor force participation rate in Georgia held steady last month at 61.6%.
During the past year, the health care and social assistance sector of Tennessee's economy saw the most year-to-year growth, adding a net 15,100 jobs. Construction, entertainment and recreation, and professional services all had slight decreases in employment during the past 12 months, however.
Manufacturing employment continued to increase in Tennessee over the past year, but the average workweek was 1.4 hours shorter than a year ago, according to the the new November estimates. As a result, the average manufacturing wage in Tennessee in November fell by $5.86 a week compared with a year ago.
The average manufacturing wage in Tennessee last month was $23.42 an hour, or 13.1% less than the U.S. average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.