5.7 million people are employed in Tennessee

Cookeville – Tennessee’s economy is growing.

Over the past few months, employment has increased across the state. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), employment (non-farm) rose by 253,000 in April. Professional business services, health care employment, leisure and hospitality and social assistance trended upward. 5.7 million people are employed in Tennessee.

That number changed little in April with the unemployment rate ranging from 3.4% to 3.7% in March 2022. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men was 3.3% while adult women landed at 3.1% and teenagers sit at 9.2%. Whites landed at 3.1%, blacks at 4.7%, Asians sit at 2.8% and Hispanics are at 4.4%

Those numbered showed little or no change in April, but fewer people lost their job.

That number decreased by 307,000 to 2.6 Million while the number of people jobless for less than five weeks decreased by 406,000 to 1.9 Million. But the long-termed unemployment (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) remained about the same and accounted for 20.6% of the total unemployed.

The so-called “economically active population” (people who are in work or ‘have been actively seeking work and are available to start work if a job is offered’) growing faster than employment as a whole is a reason unemployment can remain stagnant while jobs increase across the state. The labor force participation rate (62.6%) and employment population ratio (60.4%) were unchanged in April. Both numbers reverted close to below pre-pandemic levels of Feb. 2020.

Working part-time for economic reasons is a new normal for many. 3.9 million people held secondary jobs in April not by choice, but because hours were reduced or they were unable to find full-time gigs, according to a household survey.

Those wanting badly to gain employment increased by 346,000 to 5.3 million.

“These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the four weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job,” said the Department of Labor and Workforce development in a release.

In an interesting note, people “marginally attached to the labor force,” or those wanting and available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months, but had not looked for work in the four weeks preceding the survey increased 191,000. In that same vein, discouraged workers (those who believe there are no jobs available to them) changed very little. 

Average hourly earnings for all employees (on private non-farm payrolls) rose by 16 cents. Hourly earnings have increased 4.4% over the past 12 months, and Private sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 11 cents. Temp service employment trended down by 174,000 since peaking in March 2022. Industry jobs increased by 25,000.

Other notable increases were in health care (40,000 jobs) with many of those coming from ambulatory, nursing and residential care facilities, Leisure and hospitality, social assistance, financial activities, government and mining (quarrying, oil and gas extraction). Construction, manufacturing wholesale trade, retail trade and transportation job growth remained the same.

Recent adjustments to the employment numbers show skewed results in Feb. and March, according to the release. Employment overall (non-farm) for Feb. was revised down 78,000, from +326,000 to +248,000, and the change for March was revised down 71,000, from +236,000 to +165,000.

With the revisions, employment in Feb. and March combined is 149,000 lower than previously reported.

Image by creativeart on Freepik.

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