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MARCH 3, 2005
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January Unemployment Rate 5.9 Percent
Unemployment Rate Rises Slightly

NASHVILLE -Tennessee’s unemployment rate for the month of January is 5.9 percent, up slightly from the seasonally adjusted Tennessee December rate of 5.3 percent, Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley announced today. The national unemployment rate for January is 5.2 percent. The household survey component of the estimating process saw a greater number of job seekers looking for employment than were able to find jobs. Recent improvements in the job market may have drawn more job seekers back into the labor market. The usual seasonal declines in employment also contributed to the increase in the unemployment rate as well.

“Beginning with January data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has revised the unemployment rate estimating methodology which may raise the rate of unemployment. The revised methodology utilizes real-time benchmarking rather than end-of-year benchmarking,” said Commissioner Neeley. “All states’ monthly labor force estimates will now add up to the national labor force estimates. The revised method will significantly reduce end-of-year revisions.” Neeley continued, “Even though the revised methodology may indicate a higher unemployment rate, if you look at the business survey, Tennessee is creating more jobs. We’re seeing particularly fast growth in professional business services, leisure and hospitality, and educational and health services.”

The December-to-January figures show increases in federal government jobs, up by 200. Month-to-month seasonal decreases took place in trade, transportation and utilities jobs, down by 22,900. Leisure and hospitality lost 10,300 jobs, and professional and business services jobs decreased 6,900.

From January 2004 to January 2005, professional and business services jobs increased by 12,600. Leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 7,600. Jobs in trade, transportation and utilities rose by 7,200. Decreases took place in nondurable goods manufacturing, down 1,800 jobs. Information jobs decreased 1,600. State government educational services jobs dropped 1,000.

For more detail on the revised rate estimating methodology, go to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Web site at and click on the NEW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE METHODOLOGY UPDATE icon. You will also be able to view a quick Q & A as well as the new Tennessee metropolitan, micropolitan and combined statistical areas. There will also be links to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site for a more thorough explanation of the revised method.

January 1998 - Present

ATTENTION: January 2005 County and MSA rates will be released at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, 2005.

NOTE: Information will be available on the Internet: enter

NOTE: Tennessee’s employment and unemployment statistics are based on two major surveys. The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a survey by place of residence, providing estimates on the number of people in the labor force, total employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate. Beginning in January 1992, the CPS data are seasonally adjusted for all states as directed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The business survey collects data by place of work and creates information about jobs in various industries. The business survey data are non-seasonally adjusted at this time.