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State unemployment rate rises slightly in May
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NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee’s unemployment rate in May increased to 9.7 percent, up 0.1 percent from the April rate.Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Karla Davis said in a news release on Thursday the slight increase is a result of “significant growth in the labor force” because of optimism in the improving economy.Says Davis: “Workers are entering the labor force faster than the economy is creating jobs.”According to a survey of businesses, monthly employment increases came in leisure and hospitality, up 5,700 jobs; manufacturing, up 2,000; and mining, logging, and construction, up 1,900 jobs.Declines occurred in private educational and health services, down 3,100 jobs; government, down 2,000; and professional, scientific and technical services, down 2,000.• • • • •COOKEVILLE (AP) — Cookeville police say a man believed to have been using "bath salts" threatened to perform surgery on himself. Such bath salts are receiving use as a recreational drug after reports of their mind-altering effects.According to the Cookeville Herald-Citizen, a police report said the unidentified man believed something was in his leg and was preparing to do surgery on himself.The man was hospitalized.Detective Lt. Carl Sells said some of these substances are now coming from out of state.• • • • •CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Hamilton County is laying off 37 employees and another 17 vacant jobs will remain unfilled due to a $13.7 million reduction in next year’s budget.Mayor Jim Coppinger announced the cuts in his proposed budget that includes a $7.2 million reduction for supported agencies, including Erlanger Health System and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. The next fiscal year starts July 1.The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the layoffs and vacant positions are in the finance department, health department, human services department, public works department and others.Coppinger said the cuts are the result of the expiration of a 45-year-old sales-tax agreement between the city and the county.