11:25am

Fri June 21, 2013
Business

Tenn. Unemployment Numbers Rise for Fifth Straight Month

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- Tennessee’s unemployment numbers were up again in May.

The Tennessee Department of Labor says initial jobless claims rose three-tenths to 8.3 percent last month. The state’s unemployment numbers have risen steadily since January and are now seven-tenths higher than May of last year.

Dr. David Penn of the Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State says the number of people out of work is rising in Tennessee, but doesn’t believe the situation is as bad as the numbers suggest. 

He notes that Department of Labor uses a household survey to determine the published rate, but he puts more faith in a survey of employers which looks far more positive.

“We’re seeing a little bit of slowing in sales tax collections, and housing construction has slowed down some. So things aren’t as robust as they were a few months ago, but this rising unemployment rate is simply not consistent with the rising jobs numbers from the employer’s survey.”

Dr. Penn says he still remains positive about Tennessee’s economic outlook for 2013, especially in the second half of the year.