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State unemployment rate remains near historic lows for first of 2018

Staff Reports • Updated May 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Gov. Bill Haslam and Burns Phillips, Department of Labor and Workforce Development commissioner, announced recently the March statewide unemployment rate for Tennessee remained near historic lows and matched the revised rate from February.

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted rate for March was 3.4 percent, which mirrored the revised rate for February and was nearly 1 percent less than the March 2017 rate of 4.2 percent. Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate has remained below 4 percent since last May, hitting an all-time low of 3.3 percent last September.

“The year-to-year comparison of unemployment rates shows how much progress has been made in creating new jobs in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “But government doesn’t create jobs – jobs are created when businesses put capital at risk. That’s why we have worked hard to create an environment in Tennessee where businesses can grow and thrive and we continue to invest in our citizens, creating a skilled workforce that is ready for today’s job demands.”

The national unemployment rate for March was 4.1 percent, a decrease of 0.4 of a percentage point from the same time last year.  It has held steady at 4.1 percent since October 2017.

Tennessee added 4,900 new non-farm jobs between February and March. In the past 12 months, employers across the state created an estimated 49,000 new jobs. 

The largest increases happened in the accommodations-food services, wholesale trade, and transportation-warehousing-utilities sectors.

“Each time a new job is created in Tennessee, the quality of life improves for another family,” Burns said. “That quality of life is one of the reasons Tennessee is such a desirable place to start or expand a business.”

The statewide unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted to eliminate the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events from an economic time series.

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