Business Economics and Finance


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Tennessee Department of Labor has again reported a small increase in the number of workers filing initial unemployment claims.

State officials say 22,256 residents reported being furloughed or laid off in the past week. That’s a jump of more than 1100 new jobless applicants over the previous week.

The number of employees filing initial jobless claims fell steadily between April 11 and June 13, but began rising again slowly two weeks ago.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville Electric Service has welcome news for Metro residents struggling to pay the power bill.

NES on Wednesday begins offering a 12 month payment extension plan. You can divide your overdue balance into 12 monthly payments.

NES is also extending its moratorium on power cut offs through the end of July.

WTVF quotes NES officials saying that -- due to the pandemic and the March tornado -- the utility has canceled some 23,000 cut off orders, waived more than 280,000 late fees, and absorbed well over $347,000 in credit card fees.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee distributed unemployment benefits to more than 290,000 people last week as the number of jobless workers remains high due to the new coronavirus outbreak.


The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development reported Thursday that more than 21,000 people filed new unemployment claims during the week ending last Saturday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Gov. Bill Lee said this week the state will begin paying out $200 million in pandemic relief aid to Tennessee businesses early next month.

During a press briefing Tuesday, Gov. Lee urged business owners to make sure their tax records with the state are up to date. Payouts will be calculated based on existing tax records, not by application.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee’s unemployment rate fell in May, but still remains higher than any point in the Great Recession.

The State Department of Labor reported Thursday that the May unemployment rate stand at 11.3 percent. At the height of the 2009 recession, the jobless rate topped out at 10.9 percent.

The department initially pegged the April unemployment rate at 14.7 percent, but this week revised that figure upward to 15.5 percent. That’s the highest monthly jobless rate Tennessee has ever recorded.

Tenn. Dept. Labor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nearly 20,000 more Tennesseans filed their first claims for unemployment compensation last week.

The state Department of Labor says about 622,000 Tennessee workers have now been laid off or furloughed since the pandemic began in March.

The number of people filing initial claims has fallen for ten weeks in a row from a high of 116,000 initial applications during the week of April 4. However, the pace of the layoffs remains stubbornly high, hovering between 20,000 and 30,000 initial claims in each of the last six weeks.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A new survey from the personal finance website finds Americans torn about how coronavirus is impacting the way they work.

Of those surveyed, 60 percent say COVID-19 is changing work for the better. Nearly a third say working from home is the future. Forty-one percent believe any employee forced to return to the shop or office should be paid more for doing so.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The company that owns Franklin’s Cool Springs mall may be exploring bankruptcy.

Chattanooga based CBL Properties is a $700 billion dollar company that owns more than 100 malls nationwide.

CBL recently told investors that it’s tenant stores paid just 27 percent of the rents due in April, thanks to pandemic closures. It expects much the same in May.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessean’s are deeply worried about contracting coronavirus, but even more worried about its impact on the economy and their personal finances.

A new Vanderbilt statewide poll reports 60 percent of those surveyed are either “very” or “somewhat” worried about contracting COVID-19, or having a loved one fall ill.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee tax revenue took another hit in May, but the loss is far lower than what the state suffered in April.

Tennessee revenue officials say the state collected some $184 million less in taxes last month compared to May of last year. That represents about a 16 percent drop in revenue.

In April, the state experienced a nearly 46 percent drop in tax revenue as coronavirus forced Tennesseans to shelter at home.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Gov. Bill Lee has asked state agencies to plan for deep budget cuts as Tennessee prepares for a years-long recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Economists warned the governor on Wednesday it could be years before business activity and consumer spending in Tennessee return to pre-pandemic levels. They also predicted the state could suffer tax revenue losses during the coming fiscal year ranging anywhere from $588 million to $1.7 billion.

Tenn. Dept. Labor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Tennessee Department of Labor has released county-level unemployment numbers for the month of April, and the new figures are mind-boggling.

In Middle Tennessee, Maury County has reported the area’s highest jobless rate, now standing at 22 percent. Williamson County has the best numbers locally at 10.4 percent. Davidson County reports unemployment at 15.9 percent. Rutherford County stands at 16.7 percent.

Tenn. Dept. Labor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Labor officials say that another 26,041 Tennesseans reported being laid off or furloughed this past week.

That brings the eleven week running total of initial claims for jobless benefits to more than 558,000 applications since the coronavirus crisis began.

For the second week in a row, the number of Tennesseans filing continuing claims fell slightly, indicating at least some applicants are returning to work.

The state reports paying jobless benefits last week totaling some $375 million to just over 333,000 Tennesseans.

Tenn. Dept. Revenue

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The damage done to Tennessee’s economy by coronavirus has come into sharper focus. Tax collections for the month of April indicate some sectors of the economy have taken a tremendous beating, while others have done surprisingly well.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Revenue report hotels and lodging took the biggest hit, with business off a whopping 53 percent. Clothing sales and entertainment were both down 45 percent. Auto sales, home furnishings, and restaurants were also off sharply.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Labor officials report that Tennessee's unemployment rate for April is the highest in living memory, thanks to the ongoing health crisis.


In a press statement released Thursday afternoon, the Tennessee Department of Labor revealed April’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate soared to 14.7 percent. That’s more than 11 percent points higher than the previous month, and also higher than the April, 2019, rate by the same margin.


The U.S. National unemployment rate also stands at 14.7 percent.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  FaceBook is moving ahead with plans to build a $715 million data center in Gallatin.


The Nashville Business Journal reports the Gallatin City Council approved the deal Tuesday night.


The Journal notes that Facebook was so confident approval would be granted they began buying property for the project last week. The company reportedly spent more than 15 million dollars for half of the 800 acres needed for the massive, 970,000 square foot facility.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Tennessee Department of Labor says it's ready to begin paying the extended emergency unemployment benefits authorized by Congress nearly two months ago, but there’s a catch.

The CARES Act pandemic relief bill authorized an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what the state pays in jobless aid.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Mid-state companies have taken a beating thanks to coronavirus, especially the area's small businesses.


The Nashville Bar Association is stepping up to help out. The NBA will offer health-crisis related, phone-based legal counsel the next two Wednesdays.


The association notes on its website that topics can include insolvency, rent abatement, SBA loans, the Paycheck Protection Program. COVID-19 employment and the CARES Act.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — More than 29,000 people filed new unemployment claims in Tennessee last week, bringing the number of jobless residents who have sought benefits to more than a half-million stemming from the shutdown of businesses during the response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development said Thursday that more than $294 million in unemployment benefits was paid during the week ending Saturday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- New data from Harvard University reveals Nashville has suffered the sharpest pandemic induced drop in consumer spending of any large metro area in the nation.

Harvard researchers say the city’s tourism heavy economy suffered a more than 51 percent drop over 30 days, beginning mid-March. Consumer spending in Nashville was still off by roughly 46 percent the first of May.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Ryman Hospitality CEO Colin Reed is predicting Music City’s vital tourism sector will be slow to recover from the pandemic.


In a conversation with the Nashville Business Journal this week, Reed said people have had, “the living daylights scared out of them” by the health crisis.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Middle Tennessee’s giving spirit has apparently been unfazed by tornados, a pandemic or economic collapse.

Last week’s annual Big Payback giving event sponsored by The Community Foundation raised a record $4.3 million. That’s up $200,000 from last year’s record haul.

The 24-hour giving marathon pulled down well over 31,000 individual gifts directed at 988 local charities.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Nashville Electric Service reported just over 29,000 homes and businesses were still without power Wednesday morning.

That’s down from a high of some 134,000 outages immediately following Sunday night’s storms.

NES says it’s brought in roughly 90 contract lineman from three states to help out. Company CEO Decosta Jenkins is looking for still more crews, but says coronavirus is making that difficult.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- A state labor official has walked back earlier assurances that employees who fear returning to work because of coronavirus will continue to receive jobless benefits.


On April 22, Labor Commissioner Jeff McCord told reporters guidance he had from federal officials was that workers who feared returning to work once their employer called them back would continue receiving benefits.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A new study by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce says the pandemic will cost Metro tens-of-thousands of permanent job losses and billions of dollars in lost business.