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Tennessee starts 2021 with decrease in statewide unemployment rate

Tennessee started 2021 with a decrease in unemployment across the state. According to newly released data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), Tennessee recorded a jobless rate of 5.1% in January 2021.

The new seasonally adjusted rate represents a 0.5 of a percentage point drop from the December 2020 rate of 5.6%. The latest figure is just 1.4 percentage points higher than the statewide rate for January 2020, just months before the start of COVID-19’s impact on Tennessee’s economy.

Total nonfarm employment decreased by 2,100 jobs between December 2020 and January 2021. The largest decreases occurred in the leisure/hospitality sector, followed by the government and professional/business services sectors.

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Over the year, nonfarm employment is down 122,800 positions across the state. The hardest-hit jobs sectors were leisure/hospitality, education/health services, and government.

Nationally, seasonally adjusted unemployment also decreased in January. The new rate of 6.3% is 0.4 of a percentage point lower than December’s revised rate of 6.7%. In a year-to-year comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate is 2.8 percentage points higher than it was in January 2020.

TDLWD has produced a comprehensive analysis of the January 2021 statewide unemployment data which is available here ( .

Currently, the state’s workforce development website,, has more than 226,000 job listings for every skill level, in every part of Tennessee.

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Job seekers can also visit the Tennessee Virtual American Job Center (VAJC). The website, located at, allows Tennesseans to research different programs, from different state agencies, that can help them remove barriers to employment so they can more easily reenter Tennessee’s workforce. The VAJC allows job seekers to do this on their schedule, anytime, anywhere.

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