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State unemployment rate drops below 8 percent
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DeKalb County's unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent for March, the fifth lowest in the Upper Cumberland areaThe state's March rate dropped below 8.0 percent for the first time since 2008, but a loss of members of Tennessee's labor force meant that less people were actually employed than in February.The local rate was down from 8.5 percent in February, and enjoyed a large drop from the 9.5 percent rate reported for March, 2011.The labor force for DeKalb in March was 9,810 people, with 9,020 employed and 790 without work.Putnam County's 7.2 percent rate was the lowest among the 14 Upper Cumberland counties, with Cannon reporting a 7.4 percent rate, Smith ringing in at 7.6 percent, and Macon County coming in just ahead of DeKalb at 8.0 percent.Meanwhile, Overton County had an 8.9 percent rate for March, Fentress County's rate was at nine percent, and Warren County had a 9.1 percent rate for the month.Cumberland County's rate was at 9.4 percent, Jackson was close behind with a 9.7 percent rate, and Clay County reported a rate of 10.0 percent.Rounding out the Upper Cumberland counties are White, with a March rate of 10.6 percent and Van Buren, with an 11.3 percent rate.Pickett County reported the lowest rate in the region, 13.9 percent.The state unemployment rate for March fell to 7.9 percent, down from the February revised rate of 8.0 percent. The national unemployment rate for March 2012 was 8.2 percent, one-tenth percent lower than the February rate. "Tennessee’s unemployment is the lowest since November 2008,” Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis said.

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