Unemployment in Tennessee dropped to the lowest level in nearly nine years last month as employers across the Volunteer State added jobs at twice the national pace over the past year.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that the state’s jobless rate in March fell by four tenths of a percentage point to 4.5 percent — the lowest seasonally-adjusted rate in Tennessee since June 2007.
According to household surveys of workers, Tennessee added 122,300 jobs in the past year. The 4.3 percent gain in employment in Tennessee over the past 12 months was more than twice the 2.1 percent gain in jobs recorded nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tennessee’s jobless rate fell last month significantly below the U.S. rate of 5.0 percent, marking the biggest relative advantage for Tennessee in its unemployment rate compared with the U.S. as a whole since the Great Recession ended more than five years ago.
“Job growth in Tennessee is very strong right now, and that is born out by the strong sales tax growth we are also seeing across the state,” said Dr. Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee. “The past three years have shown some of the fastest rates of sales tax growth relative to the economy that we’ve seen in 30 years in Tennessee. In the fourth quarter of 2015, we had the fastest sales tax growth rate in the country.”
Fox said taxable sales are up (continue reading)