Newly released data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development revealed the state’s highest-ever unemployment rate amid the COVID-19 health emergency.
The preliminary seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for April 2020 is 14.7%, which is an unprecedented spike of 11.4 percentage points when compared to March’s revised rate of 3.3%.
This is Tennessee’s highest unemployment rate in a generation. Before the pandemic, the state’s all-time highest seasonally adjusted rate was 12.9%, which occurred in back-to-back months in December 1982 and January 1983.
Total nonfarm employment in Tennessee decreased by 376,900 jobs between March and April. The largest decreases occurred in leisure/hospitality, manufacturing and professional/business services sectors.
Over the last 12 months, nonfarm employment decreased by 341,000 jobs. Like the month-to-month data, the largest decreases for the year occurred in the leisure/ hospitality, manufacturing and professional/business services sectors.
Since March 15, Tennessee has seen an unprecedented surge in unemployment claims filed. During the week ending May 16, the state paid more than 319,000 claimants nearly $359 million in unemployment benefits.