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TN unemployment rate falls to 4% in November, matching pre-pandemic rate while labor force participation shrinks

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said that the state's unemployment rate is now the same as it was before the pandemic hit.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For the first time since March 2020, Tennessee's unemployment rate is at 4%, according to the state's department of labor and workforce development.

In a report released on Thursday, labor officials said that the state's unemployment rate dropped by 0.2% in November 2021, compared to the previous month. This month marked 6 months of gradual drops in the state's rate.

However, Tennessee's labor force participation rate also shrunk, according to officials. They said only 60% of people in the state were either working or looking for a job, compared to the March 2020 rate of 61.4%. They also said workers in the state were bringing home much more money per week compared to last year.

In November 2021, officials said Tennessee workers were paid around $957 per week. In March 2020, officials said that they were paid around $873 per week.

A similar trend was seen nationally as the November unemployment rate for the country fell to 4.2% — also falling under March 2020's unemployment rate. Workers across the U.S. also brought home more money per week compared to March 2020, according to the state's labor department.

They said workers across the U.S. brought home around $1,009 per week in November 2021. In March 2020, labor officials said U.S. workers brought home around $966 per week.

While the labor force participation rate fell in Tennessee, it grew in the U.S. to 61.8% according to labor officials — up by 0.2% compared to October 2021.

Several jobs were added to Tennessee's arts, entertainment and recreation sector, according to labor officials. It grew by 3.2% and added around 1,300 new roles.

The state's durable goods manufacturing sector also added around 1,200 new jobs in November. However, there were around 300 fewer jobs in non-durable goods manufacturing.