The number of unemployed Tennessee has dropped sharply in the past two months, with national data showing a sharp increase in new hires.
It is a long-awaited bright spot in the economic crisis caused by the pandemic which continues to hamper growth and the return to normal business operations.
A federal infrastructure spending plan of $ 1.2 trillion once a generation is also poised to flood Tennessee and other states with new jobs.
The news comes as unemployment levels tend to drop, now at 4.4% in Tennessee and 4.6% nationally.
But the most promising sign is a sharp increase in the number of new hires nationwide in October. More than 500,000 jobs were filled in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Analysts had been hoping to see that level of hiring in September and were disappointed when the initial numbers stood at just under 200,000. But those have since been revised to 312,000 jobs added in September.
The number of jobs added in Tennessee in October will not be published until November 19. But the first data reports are encouraging.
A slight increase in claims made in July reversed in August and has trended downward ever since – a sign that fears of the Delta variant are abating.
There were 4,786 initial jobless claims made during the week of October 23, as well as 20,728 pending claims statewide.
These are key signs of recovery, reinforcing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s belief that the economy will pick up pace without critical disruptions as early as next year.
The intense demand for workers has led to a rapid increase in wages, especially at the bottom of the ladder.
But it also increases the likelihood that high inflation rates will continue to rise, raising the costs of all kinds of consumer goods and services.
“We continue to believe that our vibrant economy will adjust to supply and demand imbalances and that, as it does, inflation will come down,” Powell said this week. “We are learning now, we have to be humble about what we know about this economy.”
President Joe Biden is now preparing to sign a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will bring a boon of jobs and capital to Tennessee.
The bipartisan bill will add more than $ 7 billion to state coffers for highways and bridges. Tennessee now spends $ 2.3 billion a year on highway infrastructure and has $ 10 billion in deferred projects awaiting funding.
The surge in global infections of the COVID-19 Delta variant has delayed widespread business re-openings even longer than expected.
But job growth was robust in October – a critical need as the holiday season approaches.
The United States recovered 18.2 million of the 22.4 million jobs lost in March and April 2020, according to the Department of Labor.
The unemployment rate across the state of Tennessee fell for the fourth consecutive month in September, from 4.6% in August to 4.4%.
You can reach Sandy Mazza by emailing [email protected], calling 615-726-5962 or on Twitter @SandyMazza.