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State unemployment rate hits 26-year high

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NASHVILLE – Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley announced Thursday Tennessee’s unemployment rate for May was 10.7 percent, up 0.8 percentage point from the revised April rate of 9.9 percent.

The May rate a year ago was 6.2 percent. The national unemployment rate for May 2009 was 9.4 percent, up from the April rate of 8.9 percent.

“Tennessee’s unemployment rate is above 10 percent, and we are continuing to outpace the national unemployment rate,” Neeley said. “Our goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction, only makes up about 16 percent of Tennessee’s economy. Those industries, however, have seen more than half of the total job losses in the past year.”

The last time Tennessee’s unemployment rate was as high as the current rate was November 1983.

According to the Business Survey, 6,300 job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality; 3,900 in administrative, support and waste services; and 2,300 in local government.

Major employment decreases occurred in durable goods manufacturing, down by 5,700; state government educational services declined by 1,800 jobs; professional, scientific and technical services lost 1,400; and mining and construction decreased by 1,400.

Year-over-year increases occurred in health care and social assistance, up by 8,200; local government increased 1,800; and telecommunications gained 800; manufacturing was down 46,100; trade transportation and utilities lost 29,100; and mining and construction decreased by 27,400.
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Economy, State, Unemployment
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