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March 18, 2004 (615) 741-2257 (OFFICE)
  (615) 308-3705 (CELL)

Slight Increase from January Rate

NASHVILLE - Tennessee's unemployment rate for the month of February is 5.0 percent, up from the seasonally adjusted January rate of 4.9 percent, Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley announced today.

"Tennessee's unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 5.6 percent," said Commissioner Neeley. "The February primary helped to better our employment picture this month with the hiring of more than 15,000 temporary election workers. Since these are temporary workers, they will not be counted in the March employment statistics, allowing for the usual seasonal patterns of late Winter/early Spring."

The January-to-February nonfarm employment figures show a major increase in local government jobs, up by 16,600 due to the hiring of election workers. Increases also occurred in state government educational services jobs, up 5,100. Month-to-month decreases took place in retail trade, down by 2,300 jobs. Construction jobs decreased by 1,100.

From February 2003 to February 2004, educational and health services jobs increased by 6,800. Leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 6,000. Decreases took place in manufacturing, down 1,900 jobs. State government jobs also decreased by 1,000.



* ATTENTION: February 2004 County and MSA rates will be released on Thursday, April 1, 2004.


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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.