Tennessee’s unemployment rate for January fell to 8.2 percent, down from the December revised rate of 8.5, according to statistics the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released Thursday.
In comparison, the national unemployment rate for January 2011 was 8.3 percent, a 0.2 percentage point drop from the December rate.
“This month the numbers show an increase of 12,700 jobs, so we are seeing positive growth in private industry,” department Commissioner Karla Davis said in a release. “The net gains are chipping away at the dramatic loss of jobs during the recession.”
A few highlights from information the department released:
• Tennessee’s unemployment rate is below the U.S. rate for the first time since November 2010.
• The number of unemployed persons (257,500) is the lowest since November 2008.
• The number of employed persons (2,877,300) is the highest since March 2008.
University of Tennessee Economist Bill Fox says the short-term industry reports are unusual when compared with yearly information.
“Year-over-year the amount of goods production, specifically construction and durable goods manufacturing, was very strong,” he said. “This short-term outpacing of goods manufacturing as compared with jobs created in service industries is unlike what we’ve seen for a while.”
For months, economists and others have bemoaned the tepid recovery in the labor market even as other economic indicators were picking up steam. December's job numbers, which pushed down the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent, should put to rest those grumblings — at least for a little while. Here are reports from the AP and the Times.
The December report painted a picture of a broadly improving job market. Average hourly pay rose, providing consumers with more income to spend. The average workweek lengthened, a sign that business is picking up and companies may soon need more workers. And hiring was strong across almost all major industries.
Jim Picerno says the job market — or more specifically, the Department of Labor researchers who track and then revise employment data — is signaling to us that the United States is not going back into recession anytime soon. Revisions to the private nonfarm payroll numbers have been positive each month since May, Picerno says.
Our misguidedly restrictive immigration policies could put us in the same trap Germany fell into. Yet, instead of seeking to attract people who offer creative talent or exceptionally hard work, many U.S. lawmakers continue to work to lock out those perceived competitors to American workers, and to express the protectionist sentiments that Germany is trying to put behind it.
Davis says the balance of the trust fund should bounce back as premiums roll in during the second quarter of the year. With expected improvement in the jobless rate, the Labor Department projects a balance of nearly $500 million by 2013.
[W]hen it comes to the link between changes in demand, employment, and unemployment, there’s little consistency. We’ve got occupations with soaring demand and no gains in employment (management, transportation). We’ve got occupations with good supply/demand ratios and no gains in demand (health practioners). And so forth and so on.