- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - West Tennessee leaders hope an upcoming economic study will help them find ways to improve the region’s employment rate.

The Jackson Sun (https://bit.ly/1AMZd8B) reports Mike Smith is director of the Regional Economic Development Initiative. He said unemployment rates in Middle and East Tennessee average about 5 percent, while West Tennessee averages about 8 percent. If the region could bring that down to 5 percent, it would generate an additional $130 million in wages.

He also said five of the 10 counties with the highest unemployment numbers are in West Tennessee.

The Southwest Human Resource Agency is preparing to take bids from groups interested in carrying out the new economic study. It will be paid for by a $50,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

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Information from: The Jackson Sun, https://www.jacksonsun.com

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