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Jobless in February

* Tennessee's jobless rate dropped 0.5 percent to 4.9 percent in February

* Georgia's jobless rate was unchanged at 5.4 percent in February

* The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in February

Unemployment in Tennessee dropped a half a percentage point last month to 4.9 percent — matching the U.S. jobless rate for the first time in two years.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that both employment and unemployment fell in the state during February due to an unexpected drop in the labor force. Despite the loss of 1,600 jobs in February, the monthly unemployment rate in Tennessee still declined to its lowest level, 4.9 percent, in eight years.

A year ago, Tennessee's unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.

Over the past year, Tennessee added 89,300 jobs, or a robust 3.1 percent growth in employment.

In neighboring Georgia, employers also added 116,500 jobs, or 2.7 percent, over the past year. Unemployment in the Peach State remained constant in February at 5.4 percent but was still well below the 6.2 percent in February 2015.

"Although the unemployment rate held steady, our January-to-February job growth is much stronger than what we've averaged for the last three years, and we had a significant reduction in new layoffs," Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said. "Our strong over-the-year job growth continues to out pace the national average."

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