Tennessee's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in at least four decades — just 3.6 percent — and other measures of the state's jobs market are also looking stronger.
Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday that the share of Tennesseans who want jobs but can't find them has reached its lowest point since the state began keeping records in 1976. The unemployment rate has also dipped nearly a percentage point below the national figure, which stands at 4.4 percent.
Total employment is also on the rise.
"We are seeing some people who had given up reenter the workforce," Haslam said, "which is obviously critical."
In fact, the number of workers in Tennessee has grown by almost 60,000 people in the past year to more than 3 million. The strongest growth was in construction, which has grown by more than six percent — three times faster than the rest of the jobs market.
State officials say all those jobs are also leading to higher wages. The most recent wage figures, published in June, show pay in the private sector has risen 6 percent in the last year, to an average of $22.67 an hour.