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MARCH 17, 2005
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February Unemployment Rate 5.9 Percent
State Unemployment Rate Steady from January

NASHVILLE - Tennessee’s unemployment rate for the month of February is 5.9 percent, the same as the seasonally adjusted January state rate of 5.9 percent, Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley announced today. The national unemployment rate for February is 5.4 percent, up from 5.2 percent.

“The business survey shows year-to-year increases in professional/business services, leisure/hospitality and trade/transportation/utilities,” said Commissioner Neeley. “A decline is shown in local government jobs due to the temporary hiring of election workers last year for the 2004 presidential primary.”

The January-to-February figures show increases in government jobs, up by 6,800, most of which was in state government educational services, up 4,900 jobs. Educational/health service jobs also increased 2,800. Month-to-month seasonal decreases took place in retail trade jobs, down by 1,800. Nondurable goods manufacturing lost 200 jobs.

From February 2004 to February 2005, professional/business services jobs increased by 11,000. Jobs in leisure/hospitality increased by 7,500. Jobs in trade/transportation/ utilities rose by 7,000. Decreases took place in government jobs, down 13,900, of which local government comprised 13,000 jobs. Information jobs decreased 1,500. Jobs in the food and beverage stores lost 1,000.

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


January 1998 - Present

Note: The large decline in government is due to the inclusion of election poll workers during the presidential primary in February 2004.

ATTENTION: February 2005 County and MSA rates will be released at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2005.

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. Information will be available on the Internet: enter