CHATTANOOGA — Chattanooga has experienced job growth that led the state’s major metropolitan areas in the last year.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, greater Chattanooga employment expanded by nearly 4,000 jobs from November 2011 through November 2012. The figure is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jobs grew by 1.7 percent in Chattanooga. Knoxville was second during the year, with an increase of 1.2 percent. Nashville came in third, increasing employment by 0.5 percent while Memphis reported no gain or loss.
The Chattanooga metro area gained jobs in the automotive, appliance and transport industries, increasing employment by 3,900 positions during the year.
“We’ve certainly come a long ways from where we were 30 years ago when our growth was trailing most other Southern cities,” Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said Monday. “We’ve finally come into our own and I think we’ve built a base that should help us continue to be a leader.”
The gains were greater than losses of employment in health care, financial services and wholesale trade last year. Burgeoning construction and manufacturing drove down the jobless rate at the end of last year to the lowest rate since before the recession struck in 2008.
The six-county area, however, remains more than 10,000 jobs below the number it had at its zenith in 2006.