TN unemployment rate lowest in history; system paying people faster

(WSMV file photo)

Right now more people have jobs than ever before in Tennessee.

The Department of Labor released record numbers on Thursday showing the lowest unemployment rate Tennessee has ever seen at 3.6 percent.

Since last year, the News 4 I-Team has been reporting about a system upgrade that caused delays in benefits for thousands of unemployed Tennesseans.

For the first time in more than a year the majority of people waiting for benefits are finally getting paid within 21 days.

In January, the I-Team reported 3,000 out of 15,000 claims were taking longer than three weeks.

Millions of tax dollars were spent to upgrade the system last year that was supposed to help get people paid faster.

The I-Team’s Lindsay Bramson asked both Gov. Bill Haslam and Commissioner Burns Phillips with the Department of Labor about the time it took to fix this earlier this afternoon.

"The unemployment system is functioning as it should for anybody who wants to seek unemployment compensation,” Phillips said.

"We obviously regret we got behind when we implemented the new system, but we have a high degree of commitment. Like I said, 3.6 percent is really low, it’s historically low. But if you're one of those 3.6 you still want to make certain those benefits are coming and we understand that and we have a commitment to deliver those benefits ahead of schedule,” Haslam said.

The Department of Labor says right now it's taking about 10 days for someone to receive that first payment. The commissioner says the system is finally working the way it's supposed to be.

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