UT Economist Says Tennessee Still Has Full Employment

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee still has full employment even though the state’s unemployment rate edged up to 5.2 percent in July, University of Tennessee economist Bill Fox said Thursday.

State officials reported the jobless rate rose 0.2 percent to 5.2 percent last month.

“The unemployment rate is an estimate, and there’s probably little, if any, difference between an estimated 5.0 percent and 5.2 percent unemployment rate,” Fox said.

“We’ve been saying all along that the full employment rate (for Tennessee) lies between 5.0 and 5.5 percent.” Fox said it was difficult for the Tennessee economy to sustain an unemployment range below 5 percent, as it did earlier this year.

“One result of (a rate below 5 percent) is higher wages. Another result is very difficult times for employers in finding available workers,” Fox said.

“We’re now back in a range that is more consistent with lower inflation and employers better able to find quality workers.”

Contact: Bill Fox (423-974-1697)

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