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[Note: Indicators Updated November 7, 2018]
  • The Tennessee economy picked up some steam in September, with sizable gains from the previous month in sales tax collections, multi-family home construction, nonfarm employment, hours worked, and average hourly earnings. Wage gains were enough to exceed the inflation rate, resulting in a significant gain in real hourly earnings.
  • Seasonally adjusted weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance in Tennessee increased a bit to 2,617 in September from 2,506 in the previous month, while the trend declined slightly. Initial claims for unemployment insurance remain extremely low compared with the previous sixteen years. [graph]
  • Permits issued for single-family home construction for Tennessee fell to 2,141 in September from 2,537 in August. Single-family permit growth has been flat over the previous eighteen months. In contrast, total housing construction permits, consisting of both single-family and multi-family permits, gained in September due to an increase in multi-family home construction. Single family permits are up 0.2% over the year, but total permits are 10.8% higher. [graph]
  • State sales tax collections jumped 2 percent in September from the previous month, following seasonal adjustment. Collections are 7.2% higher over the year for the state. [graph]
  • Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment for Tennessee gained 8,600 in September from the previous month, a gain of 0.3%. Over the year, nonfarm employment is 2.1% higher. Four of the ten Tennessee MSAs show over the year gains of 2% or more. [graph]
  • The unemployment rate for September in Tennesseee was unchanged at 3.6%, nearly equal to the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.7%. [graph]
  • Average weekly hours worked rose to 36.0, the highest level since January 2017. Over the year, hours worked increased 2.0%. [graph]
  • Average hourly earnings for Tennessee rose to $23.80 in September, reflecting the increasingly tight labor market. Hourly earnings are 4.4% higher over the year. Measured in constant 2009 dollars, average hourly earnings are 2.7% higher over the year. [graph]
    — Research by David Penn, associate professor of economics. Real average hourly earnings are calculated by dividing nominal hourly earnings by the monthly CPI-U for the South published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment Growth by Industry