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Tennessee lawmaker says number of jobs available in state is exaggerated

"Somebody from Blount County is not going to move to Davidson County to become a pizza delivery driver for $11 an hour," said one lawmaker.

TENNESSEE, USA — Some Tennessee lawmakers are saying that the number of available jobs that Governor Bill Lee said people can apply for has been exaggerated.

He announced that starting July 3, people receiving unemployment benefits will no longer get an additional $300 per week in federal supplements. He said more than 260,000 positions were posted on the state's career services website, Jobs4TN

Spanish Version: Legislador de Tennessee indica que el número de empleos disponibles en el estado es exagerado

Participating in the federal program discouraged people from applying for them, Lee said.

"Work is good for the soul and we shouldn't be incentivizing people not to do it," he said in a tweet.

However, lawmakers said that the number was not accurate for many people looking for work across the state. Representative Vincent Dixie (D - Davidson County) said while jobs may be available in metropolitan areas, they may not be available in rural areas.

He also said that many jobs also don't pay enough to justify hours-long commutes or moving across the state.

"Maybe there are 250,000 jobs available across Tennessee, but locally there aren’t," he said. "So maybe those jobs are here in Davidson county or some of the big four —Knox, Hamilton, or Shelby. At the end of the day, somebody from Blount County is not going to move from Davidson county to become a pizza delivery driver for $11 an hour."

He also said although many businesses are hiring across the state, they are not paying a high enough wage to encourage people to get back to work. 

As of Tuesday, Jobs4TN listed 258,709 openings across the state. Many were posted for organizations in areas like Nashville and Memphis.

This story was partially reported by WZTZ in Nashville.

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