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Tennessee's jobless rate is nearing pre-pandemic levels. So why are so many still out of work?

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jobs4tn.gov
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee’s official unemployment rate currently stands at five percent, but that number doesn’t include every state resident who wants to work.

The official five percent figure only represents Tennesseans who are actively looking for employment.

Lipscomb University Business Management Professor Dr. Andy Borchers notes state records show the percentage of residents who want to work but have become so discouraged they’ve stopped looking for employment currently stands at 13 percent. Another 2.6 percent of Tennesseans are what can be described as chronically or long-term unemployed.

Dr. Borchers says the economic impact from the pandemic is still very much in evidence statewide. Tennessee businesses currently employ nearly 50,000 fewer workers than they did before the health crisis began.

In addition, Dr. Borchers notes that Tennessee’s pandemic recovery lags behind several of its southern neighbors. Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Kentucky are all currently reporting better jobless rates than Tennessee.

In the past week alone, well over 50,000 Tennesseans received an unemployment check from the state.

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