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Tennessee unemployment reaches lowest level since January 2020

Unemployment in the state of Tennessee reached a two-year low in December, according to new data released by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The state ended 2021 with an unemployment rate of 3.8%, 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% to 3.8%.

Tennessee has not seen unemployment at this level since January 2020 when it had a rate of 3.7%. 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%. The workforce has been recovering ever since then.

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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 the pandemic began to impact the nation’s workforce. The United States seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December came in at 3.9%, down 0.3 of a percentage point from November’s rate.

A complete analysis of the state’s December 2021 unemployment data can be found here ( .

While the number of Tennesseans out of work continues to decrease, many citizens are still searching for work or looking for a different type of job. TDLWD offers a variety of services that can help those individuals. Assistance is available online or in-person and job seekers can begin their journey at

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