Unemployment steady as the economy continues rebounding

May’s unemployment rate unchanged as Tennesseans continue returning to the workforce

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s statewide unemployment rate held steady at 5% between April and May 2021, according to newly released data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).

While Tennessee’s unemployment rate did not change in the month-to-month comparison, it was 4.6 percentage points lower than the May 2020 rate. At that time, many of the state’s employers remained closed due to the COVID-19 health emergency. Just one month after the state recorded its highest unemployment rate in history, 15.8% in April 2020, the economy had already begun to show signs of improvement.

The latest statistics show Tennessee employers added 5,000 jobs between April and May. The largest increases occurred in the professional/business services, leisure/hospitality and financial activities sectors.

When comparing May 2021 to May 2020, nonfarm employment across the state increased by a remarkable 231,500 jobs. The leisure/hospitality sector created the most jobs during that time. The manufacturing and professional/business services sectors created the next highest numbers of jobs over the year.

Unemployment also dropped nationally in May to 5.8%, down 0.3 of a percentage point from the previous month’s rate. In the year-to-year comparison, the United States unemployment rate is down 7.5 percentage points from May 2020.

TDLWD produces a complete analysis of the state’s unemployment data, including labor force estimates, which is available here.

Job seekers in Tennessee can find more than 255,000 open positions employers need to fill on the state’s workforce development website, www.Jobs4TN.gov.

The Tennessee Virtual American Job Center (VAJC) at www.TNVirtualAJC.com 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.

The state of Tennessee will release the May 2021 unemployment rates for each county Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. CT.

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