As unemployment rate drops, East Tennesseans see new jobs

As unemployment rate drops, East Tennesseans see new job opportunities

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"I was very lucky, when I found out about the job I applied quick and it was a very quick hiring process," said Kilby. "I was very lucky, when I found out about the job I applied quick and it was a very quick hiring process," said Kilby.
""What we had seen in previous months was that the unemployment rate went down because people were withdrawing from the labor force. That is not the case this month," said Murray. ""What we had seen in previous months was that the unemployment rate went down because people were withdrawing from the labor force. That is not the case this month," said Murray.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The job market is finally looking up as the unemployment rate took a nosedive, dropping to 7.8% for September.

The unemployment rate hasn't been this low since President Obama took office in January 2009, more than three and a half years ago.

The September jobs report shows employers created 114,000 jobs. The report is good news for people looking for work in East Tennessee.

Latish Kilby is one of the lucky of thousands who can now say she is back to work.

"I was very lucky, when I found out about the job I applied quick and it was a very quick hiring process," said Kilby.

Friday was her first day at the ADT call center in West Knoxville. She has been out of work for two months.

"I just came in one day and they said 'you're done' and I was like 'What am I going to do?' So that whole process of trying to save money and not spend any money was really stressful," Kilby said.

Economist Matt Murray said after a slow summer, the big positives of September's job report are in the details.

"We're actually seeing two really good details in the report - over 400,000 unemployed people who are no longer unemployed, but also over 400,000 new participants in the labor market," explained Murray.

"What we had seen in previous months was that the unemployment rate went down because people were withdrawing from the labor force. That is not the case this month."

The peak of the employment crisis came in October 2009, when unemployment hit 10% and held steady for about a year. Over the past two years, unemployment has slowly declined, reaching a new low in September.

The national numbers are evident in the Knoxville job market. The ADT call center where Kilby just started work is one of the many companies in town hiring new workers.

"With a partnership with the state of Tennessee, we were able to get training grants that allow us to hire hundreds of people here," said Bob Duncan, director of the call center.

But Murray said the country and Tennessee are far from out of the dark.

"We're not seeing the pace of job creation take place fast enough. That's the bottom line," Murray explained. "We need to see job growth on a monthly basis closer to the 200,000 a month."

But hiring surges at places like ADT are a start. 

"It's another sign that the nation's labor market is improving," said Murray.

"It's improving too slowly, but at least it's improving."

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