Decline Lands February Unemployment Rate at 5.3 Percent

Thursday, March 23, 2017 | 1:30pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announces a preliminary unemployment rate of 5.3 percent for February. This is an improvement from the revised January rate of 5.4 percent. February’s U.S. preliminary rate is 4.7 percent, matching Tennessee with a tenth of a percentage point decline from the previous month.

Over the past year, Tennessee’s rate has increased by six-tenths of a percentage point while the national rate has declined by two-tenths.

“When you see the unemployment tick up over a period of time, that always catches your attention,” said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips. “But when you look at the statistics, they tell an interesting story about Tennessee.”

Labor Force Estimates

Total nonfarm employment increased with 8,300 additional jobs from January to February. Education/health services, mining/logging/construction, and manufacturing experienced the largest employment increases.

“As the number of people looking for jobs across the state grows faster than the hiring process, we have really focused on preparing those job seekers for employment with key resources like and our American Job Centers," explained Commissioner Phillips.

Business Survey

According to the commissioner, “While these latest numbers may seem marginal, all the resources the state offers will really pay off in the long run, helping Tennesseans find work and lowering our unemployment rate."

Added to nonfarm employment were 66,100 jobs over the year. The largest increases occurred in leisure/hospitality, trade/transportation/utilities, and professional/business services.

Unemployment Rates Graph

The Economic Analysis and Labor Force Estimates are prepared by the Employment Security division’s labor market information specialists. The division reports metrics and contextual information as it relates to employment, income, and population in Tennessee. Labor force topics are narrated in monthly newsletters and additional resources are available on

The county unemployment release for February 2017 will be published on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. CT.


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