The trend for average weekly claims for unemployment insurance dipped to 6,587 for January for Tennessee, the lowest level since April 2008. A drop in initial claims occurs when employers let go fewer employees. Initial claims have been in decline since the peak of 13,400 in March 2009. Though claims have been falling, the unemployment rate has generally not declined until very recently: between August and December 2011, the unemployment rate dropped one full percentage point as employers curtailed layoffs and began to hire additional workers.
—David Penn, BERC Director