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Tennessee Jobless Rate Shows Improvement In November

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Tennessee's unemployment rate saw its biggest month-to-month improvement since 2010 last month, and one economist says the improvement is real.

The statewide jobless rate clocked in at 8.1 percent in November, according to figures released Thursday from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The rate is still far above pre-recession levels, but it represents a drop of nearly half a percentage point since October, the biggest single downward shift in unemployment measured since April 2010.

Ordinarily, November would see a small, temporary boost in employment because it's the time of year in which retailers and other businesses hire seasonal workers. That temporary boost goes away as the calendar shifts to a new year and those workers are dismissed. But the November unemployment figures have been seasonally adjusted.

"Seasonally adjusted numbers take all of that into account," said Matt Murray, assistant director of the Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research. "So the November numbers reflect a real change in unemployment that lines us up with other economic indicators we've seen."

That means the 04.-percent drop probably won't go away in January, something Murray said is significant.

Non-farm employment gained 9,400 jobs in November. The biggest increases were seen in leisure and hospitality, durable goods, and professional and business services.