Preliminary figures show Tennessee's unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent in May from 4.7 percent in April.

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, that's the lowest rate for the state in more than 15 years.

The seasonably adjust unemployment rate also is now lower than the national average of 4.3 percent.

George W. Bush was president, back in March 2001, the last time the rate was at 4.0 percent or less. In February 2001, it went as low as 3.9 percent.

County by county numbers are expected to come out next week.

"While the statewide numbers look good for May, we know there are still several distressed counties across Tennessee and we need to focus on the unemployed workers in those areas," Commissioner Burns Phillips said in a news release.

Nonfarm employment totals decreased by 200 jobs from April to May. The largest decreases occurred in the transportation/warehousing/utilities, educational services, and retail trade industries, according to the state.

Over the year, 57,500 jobs have been added to nonfarm employment. The largest increases are credited to professional/business services, trade/transportation/utilities, and mining/logging/construction.