Unemployment in Tennessee reached a two-year low in December, according to new data that the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) released late last week.

The state ended 2021 with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, which was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the rate it recorded in November. Over the past year, Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 1.8 percentage points from 5.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

This according to a press release that the TDLWD published Thursday.

“Tennessee has not seen unemployment at this level since January 2020 when it had a rate of 3.7 percent. The state experienced slight increases in unemployment in February and March of that year before COVID-19 business closures dramatically impacted the state’s workforce. In April 2020, Tennessee reached a record high unemployment rate at 15.8 percent. The workforce has been recovering ever since then,” TDLWD officials said.

“Total nonfarm employment across the state increased by 14,500 jobs between November and December. Tennessee employers added the largest numbers of workers in the leisure and hospitality sector, followed by the trade, transportation and utilities, and the education and health services sectors. Over the year, nonfarm employment in Tennessee increased by 96,400 jobs. The largest increases occurred in the leisure and hospitality, the professional and business services, and the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors.”

Across the country, unemployment in December was at its lowest rate since March 2020, one month before COVID-19 began to impact the nation’s workforce. The United States seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December came in at 3.9 percent, down 0.3 of a percentage point from November’s rate, TDLWD officials said.

State officials are scheduled to release the latest county unemployment rates at 1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, January 27.

TDLWD officials announced in October that unemployment rates dropped in most counties across Tennessee.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Construction Worker” by Jon Tyson.