As Tennesseans start getting $900 unemployment checks, new jobless claims down

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans started getting a one-time $900 check Thursday to help with their unemployment, but there was some other good jobs news mixed in with sobering words about a long recovery for some hard-hit sectors of the economy.

New unemployment claims announced Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development are the second-lowest since the pandemic shut down parts of the economy in March.

While the new claims are trending down, the hospitality industry remains an area facing a long recovery.

One of those impacted is Joe Driver of Dickson County. He had his hours cut to one workday a week because hotels were at record low occupancy, but on Wednesday, he was one of the first Tennesseans to receive his one-time $900 check as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to help the nation’s unemployed.

On Tuesday, the state’s tourism commission said Tennessee set a record $23 billion in tourism spending in 2019 but acknowledged how far the industry needs to come back. 

“And now the U.S Travel Association predicts the travel industry in Tennessee could see a 45 percent decline this year,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell at Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing with Governor Bill Lee.

While the numbers are slow for the hospitality industry, the state labor department Thursday reported the second-lowest number of new Tennessee unemployment claims of just under 11,000 (10,998) since the economy shut down in March.

The lowest number of new claims since for the state was earlier this month of just over 10,000 (10,036) for the week ending August 8.

The number of Tennesseans on unemployment claims dipped below 200,000 for the first time since mid-April at 191,204.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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