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Tennessee unemployment inches up in December

Statewide unemployment inched upwards during the final month of 2020, according to newly released data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2020 is 6.4%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from November’s revised rate of 5.2%. Tennessee’s latest jobless statistic remains below the national unemployment rate.

Unemployment across the state has fluctuated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It reached its all-time high of 15.5% in April 2020 and is currently just over 3 percentage points higher than the state’s pre-pandemic unemployment rate.

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Total nonfarm employment increased by 10,800 jobs between November and December. The trade/transportation/utilities sector added the largest number of jobs for the month. The professional/business services sector had the second-largest increase, followed by the manufacturing sector.

While employers did create new jobs in December, year-to-year statistics show the state still has a deficit when compared to December 2019. There were 100,300 fewer jobs in the state in December 2020. Tennessee’s leisure/hospitality industry has endured the most job loss during the pandemic. The manufacturing and government sectors have also been hit hard with job losses.

Nationally, seasonally adjusted unemployment was unchanged between November and December and held steady at 6.7%.

TDLWD has a complete analysis of the state’s December unemployment data, including wage information, available here ( .

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Job seekers will find more than 230,000 employment listings on the state’s workforce development website,

The Tennessee Virtual American Job Center (VAJC) allows Tennesseans to research different programs 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.

County-level data will be released next week. 


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