February Unemployment Rate 9.1 Percent

Thursday, March 19, 2009 | 12:28 pm

Rate Up 0.5 Percent from January

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley announced today Tennessee’s unemployment rate for February was 9.1 percent, up 0.5 percentage point from the January rate of 8.6 percent. The February rate a year ago was 5.5 percent. The national unemployment rate for February 2009 was 8.1 percent, up from the January rate of 7.6 percent.

"Data released today continue to highlight the severity of the deepening recession in Tennessee,” said Neeley.  “The statewide unemployment rate remains on an upward trend, and the number of unemployed persons has climbed to the highest level since we began keeping these records in 1973.”

January-to-February job losses totaled 7,800.  Declines included trade, transportation and utilities, down 4,900; manufacturing was down 3,200, and professional and business services lost 3,000 jobs.  Job gains occurred in government (primarily state and local educational services), increasing by 5,600; private educational services, increased by 2,100; and transportation equipment added 1,300 jobs. 

The over the year comparison from February 2008 to February 2009 shows a net loss of 110,700 jobs.  Manufacturing jobs are down by 39,200; trade, transportation and utilities have lost 28,600 jobs: and mining and construction are down by 20,900.  Health care and social assistance increased by 10,100 over the year; local government increased 3,800 and telecommunications increased by 1,000.