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TN Unemployment Increases to 6.7% Again in January

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; March 5, 2015:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for January was 6.7 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point higher than the December revised rate of 6.6 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for January was 5.7 percent, also gaining one-tenth of one percentage point from the prior month.

Economic Summary

  • Over the past year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, while the national rate declined from 6.6 percent to 5.7 percent.
  • Total nonfarm employment increased 8.300 jobs from December, 2014 to January, 2015. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, professional/scientific/technical services, and manufacturing.
  • Over the year, nonfarm employment increased 71,700 jobs. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, professional/business services and manufacturing.
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TN County Unemployment Rates for Dec. 2014 Released

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; January 29, 2015:

NASHVILLE – County unemployment rates for December 2014, released today, show the rate decreased in 20 counties, increased in 64 counties, and remained the same in 11 counties. Specific county information for December is available on the Internet; enter http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/LaborDEC2014.pdf.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in December at 5.0 percent, down from 5.1 percent in November. Davidson County was 5.1 percent in December, down from 5.2 the previous month. The Hamilton County December rate was 6.4 percent, unchanged from November. Shelby County was 8.1 percent in December, also unchanged from the previous month. Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for December was 6.6 percent, two-tenths of one percentage point lower than the November revised rate of 6.8 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for December was 5.6 percent, also falling two-tenths of one percentage point from the prior month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

[gview file=”https://tnreport.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2015/01/LaborDEC2014.pdf”]

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TN Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.6% in December

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; January 22, 2015:

Fourth Consecutive Decrease of State Unemployment Rate

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for December was 6.6 percent, two-tenths of one percentage point lower than the November revised rate of 6.8 percent. The U.S. preliminary rate for December was 5.6 percent, also falling two-tenths of one percentage point from the prior month.

Economic Summary

  • Over the past year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.7 percent to 6.6 percent while the national rate declined from 6.7 percent to 5.6 percent.
  • Total nonfarm employment increased 12,500 jobs from November to December. The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, manufacturing, and mining/logging/construction.
  • Over the year, nonfarm employment increased 66,200 jobs. The largest increases occurred in professional/business services, trade/transportation/utilities, and mining/logging/construction.
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Required Workplace Compliance Posters Available Free from State

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; Sept. 1, 2014:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Secretary of State Tre Hargett want employers to know that required workplace posters are available at no charge from the State of Tennessee at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd.

Employers may have received misleading notices in the mail advising them to update employment posters that are required by law to post. These notices frequently have “labor law compliance alert” or “final notice for compliance” or a similar heading, and then offer to sell the required set of posters. We have recently become aware of an entity called “US Compliance Service” that has circulated a potentially misleading solicitation related to employment posters.

“It’s unfortunate that employers intending to do the right thing by posting laws and regulations in the workplace are taken advantage of,” said Labor Commissioner Burns Phillips. “Once a sale has been made, inevitably there are frequent updates to follow at a significant price. We hope to educate the public that these required postings are always free from state government.”

Secretary Hargett agreed, stating that “the overwhelming majority of people who run businesses in our state want to do the right thing and follow the law. But they need to be aware that there are people out there who might try to take advantage of them.”

Several years ago, the Tennessee Attorney General’s office reached an agreement with a company that was deceptively selling labor law posters in Tennessee. Mandatory Poster Agency, Inc., was headquartered in Michigan, but did business in Tennessee as the Tennessee Labor Law Poster Service and the Tennessee Mandatory Poster Agency. The Attorney General’s office alleged that solicitations by the company were deceptive because they appeared to be from a governmental agency and appeared to be from a business located in Tennessee with “an official looking” seal. Businesses that purchased posters from this company were eligible for restitution if they filed a complaint.

All required posters are available free from the following Internet address: http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd. Directly below the state poster listings is a link to the required federal (U.S. Department of Labor) posters, which can also be downloaded free.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development has also developed an all-in-one poster containing all of the state requirements. That poster is also free and can be received by sending a request to ron.hammontree@tn.gov.

If you hear that a company is pressuring employers to buy posters, please obtain as much identifying information as possible and e-mail Melinda.williams@tn.gov or call (615) 253-6674.

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TN Labor & Workforce Commissioner Resigns Citing Family Reasons

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; March 18, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis is resigning due to family reasons.

“Over the past two years, the department has implemented several key initiatives including a comprehensive online jobs database to better connect job seekers to Tennessee employers and is playing a vital role in our effort to update Tennessee’s worker’s compensation laws,” Haslam said. “I am grateful to Karla for her service and wish her the best.”
Davis has served as commissioner since the beginning of the Haslam administration. Prior to that, she served as director of Urban Strategies Memphis HOPE, managing and overseeing the Community and Supportive Services Program for three U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOPE VI public housing redevelopment projects and two HUD ROSS Grant projects in Memphis. Before that she worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 16 years.

The governor has named Burns Phillips as acting commissioner. Phillips currently serves as managing director in the Department of Finance and Administration (F&A) overseeing customer-focused government initiatives administration wide.

“Burns brings both public and private sector experience to this interim role,” Haslam continued. “I appreciate his willingness to take on these responsibilities as we continue to focus on serving the citizens of Tennessee.

Early in his career, Phillips worked in the Budget Office of F&A before going into the private sector where he worked in medical sales and marketing. In 1991, he founded a surgical instrument company that conducted business in the United States and 30 other countries.

In 2009, he returned to state government to serve as transportation administrative director of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Central Services Division.

Phillips has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University, and he earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law.

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State Awards Nearly $125K in Workforce Training Grants

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; February 13, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis have awarded $124,713 in job training grants to eight companies across the state. Incumbent Worker Training grants assist employers with upgrading skills and avoiding layoffs for their employees.

“If Tennessee is going to become the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, then we must offer a well-trained workforce to employers,” said Governor Haslam. “This kind of training grant not only helps educate workers, but also provides incentive to employers looking to relocate or expand in Tennessee.”

“Both job creation and retention are vital in maintaining a healthy economy in Tennessee, and the Incumbent Worker Training program has played a key role in accomplishing this,” said Commissioner Davis. “Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Training grants have assisted more than 600 businesses by providing $14 million to train approximately 50,000 employees.”

The Incumbent Worker program has been structured to be flexible to meet the business’s training objectives. The business may use public, private, or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training. The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least five full-time employees, demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations. Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills.

The Incumbent Worker Training Program is funded by the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and administered by the Workforce Development division within the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA contact), and the local career center.

Follow the link below for a list of companies receiving Incumbent Worker Training Grants
http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/news/February2013JobTrainingAwards.shtml.

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Refusal of Acceptable Employment Offers to Disqualify TN Unemployment Claimants

Press release from the Department of Labor & Workforce Development; October 4, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development today announced claimants who refuse to accept a suitable offer of employment will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Recent changes to Employment Security Law redefine what is considered suitable and revise the standard based on the length of time unemployment benefits are received. If the Agency finds a claimant has refused otherwise suitable work based solely upon the rate of pay, then his claim is stopped for refusing such work.

Previously, to be considered suitable employment, the proposed job had to be approximately the same rate of pay and hours as the claimant’s most recent work. Under the new law, claimants must decrease salary and wage demands the longer they receive unemployment insurance benefits.

A job offer is considered suitable according to the following criteria:

  • During the first 13 weeks of unemployment, an offer of 100% of the wages of the most recent work
  • During the 14th through the 25th week of unemployment, an offer of 75% of the wages of the most recent work
  • During the 26th through the 38th week of unemployment, an offer of 70% of the wages of the most recent work
  • After the 38th week of unemployment, 65% of the wages of the most recent work

Other considerations of suitable work include previous wage and skill levels. Suitable work also entails having hours and days that are standard to the industry, and commuting distance must be reasonably the same as previous work experience.

A claimant will not be required to accept employment below the federal minimum wage. An offer of employment is not bona fide if only a possibility of employment exists.

Employers are encouraged to notify the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development if they feel a claimant refuses a suitable offer of employment.