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Economy under President Trump: Jobs and wages in Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - "The Trump Effect" is a notion that President Trump has pushed on the campaign trail, where he credited his policies for the state of the U.S. economy. He mentioned it during his visit to Chattanooga over the weekend.

"Poverty is plummeting, wages are rising, incomes are soaring and the confidence level of our businesses and our people is at an all time high," he said to the crowd of thousands of supporters. 

Just a month prior, former President Barack Obama said the strong economy was a continuation of the recovery that started under his presidency. 

The numbers in Tennessee are good. The state unemployment figure is 3.6 percent, which is below the national rate of 3.7 percent. The rate in Knox County is even better, at 3.2 percent unemployed. 

Wages are also growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the first quarter of 2018, Tennesseans brought home $990 per week. In 2016, the number was $894. 

University of Tennessee Economics Professor Bill Fox says more job growth isn't likely.

"The unemployment rate is very low. The ability to have fast growth in jobs is very limited. We just don't have the workforce, available workforce to continue rapid job creation," Fox said.

Fox also says this is as good as we're going to see the U.S. economy. He calls this period an economic expansion, which he says began in 2009. 

Charnita Renfroe is a national account manager with Job News Tennessee. She sets up job fairs around the state to help employers and employees connect. She says she sees a thriving economy every day.

"Anyone who wants a job can get a job," she said. 

In Tennessee the top three growing job sectors are: leisure and hospitality (tourism) at 5.1 percent, professional and business services at 2.7 percent, and education and health at 1.9 percent.

Fox explains the GDP, which measures economic output, will likely go down next year. He says the spike comes from the sudden tax cut and federal spending in 2018. 

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