NASHVILLE — Tennessee started 2021 with a decrease in unemployment across the state, according to newly-released data from the Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development.

Tennessee recorded a jobless rate of 5.1% in January 2021, which represents half a percentage point drop from the December 2020 rate of 5.6%. The latest figure is just 1.4 percentage points higher than the statewide rate for January 2020, two months before the start of Covid-19’s impact on Tennessee’s economy.

Total nonfarm employment decreased by 2,100 jobs between December and January. The largest decreases occurred in the leisure/hospitality sector, followed by the government and professional/business services sectors.

Over the year, nonfarm employment is down 122,800 jobs across the state. The hardest-hit job sectors were leisure/hospitality, education/health services, and government.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 6.7% in December to 6.3% in January. In a year-to-year comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate is 2.8 percentage points higher than it was in January 2020.

County unemployment rates will be released on March 18.

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