While the pace of new hiring is no longer exceeding the growth in the labor force, employers across Tennessee still added a net 45,900 jobs over the past year to keep the state's jobless rate below the national average last month.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday the jobless rate in Tennessee remained at 3.5% in August, or two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.7% last month,
In neighboring Georgia, the August jobless rate also remained constant at 3.6% after employers in the Peach State added nearly 85,000 jobs over the past year.
State labor officials said the new employment numbers underscore the continued economic growth in both Tennessee and Georgia even though jobs are no longer growing faster than the number of persons entering the force to continue the drop in the jobless rate.
"While there's been a lot of talk nationally about a slowdown, I don't see any evidence of that in Georgia," said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.
Unemployment in Tennessee reached an all-time low of 3.2% earlier this year, but the jobless rate for this summer has been slightly higher and matched the unemployment rates in the past couple of summers. In Georgia, the all-time low for unemployment was reached in December 2000 at 3.4%.
"For more than two years Tennessee's unemployment has been at, or very close to, historic low levels," Tennessee Labor Commissioner Jeff McCord said in his monthly report on employment in the state. "We have seen little fluctuation since June of 2017, and that's one sign the business community has continued confidence in the state's economy."
A separate household survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the seasonally-adjusted number of Tennesseeans on the job grew by a robust 3,3% from August 2018 to August 2019, adding 104,820 more jobs in the state. The growth pace in Tennessee was more than double the comparable 1.5% growth in jobs nationwide, according to BLS household surveys over the past year.
The average manufacturing workers also enjoyed an hourly raise last month equal to 17 cents and the typical workweek in Tennessee factories last month was 1.3 hours longer than in July when vacations and holiday shortened some work weeks. But the average manufacturing wage in Tennessee last month of $20.31 an hour was still 8.5% lower than the U.S. average manufacturing wage of $22.19 an hour last month.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 757-6340.