Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since March 2020, the last month before COVID-19 business closures impacted workers across the state. According to new data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), Tennessee recorded an unemployment rate of 4% in November 2021.

The new seasonally adjusted rate is down 0.2 of a percentage point from October and it matches the March 2020 rate. In a year-to-year comparison, the November figure dropped by 1.6 percentage points.

“Thanks to the hard work and resilience of Tennesseans, our state’s strong economic recovery has accelerated back to pre-pandemic levels for unemployment and GDP,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a press statement. “This significant milestone is a testament to our fiscally responsible approach and commitment to meaningful work. While we continue strengthening our workforce, Tennessee families and businesses will enter the New Year in a new, hopeful chapter for our state’s economy.”

Tennessee experienced its highest unemployment ever in April 2020 when the rate spiked to a historic 15.8%.

Business owners increased employment across the state by 4,900 jobs between October and November. Tennessee’s leisure and hospitality sector accounted for the largest number of hires during the month. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector, along with the manufacturing sector, had the next highest number of new jobs.

Over the year, nonfarm employment grew by 87,800 jobs in Tennessee. The largest gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors.

Unemployment also dropped nationwide in November. The seasonally adjusted rate for the month came in at 4.2%, down 0.4 of a percentage point from October’s rate. One year ago, the national rate was 2.5 percentage points higher.

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