11:54am

Fri October 5, 2012
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Tennessee's Employment Forecast: "The Fog is Pretty Thick."

WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — The U.S. unemployment rate has fallen below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years.

The U.S. Labor Department says the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent last month as employers added 114,000 jobs.

The State of Tennessee won’t release its unemployment numbers for September for another two weeks, but joblessness in Tennessee has been climbing steadily in recent months. The unemployment rate stood at 8.4 percent in August.

Dr. David Penn, an economist with the Middle Tennessee State Business and Economic Research Center, says gridlock in Washington is making companies nervous.

“When decision makers are faced with uncertainty, instead of deciding to invest or hire more folks to do work, then they don’t make a decision at all. They put it off waiting for the fog to clear. The fog is pretty thick right now.”

The U.S. Department of Labor report also indicates that wages rose in September and more people started looking for work.