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VOL. 7 | NO. 18 | Saturday, April 26, 2014

Daily Digest

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Fares Falling at Memphis Airport

After being labeled as one of most expensive cities for air service for years, prices at Memphis International Airport are falling.

Memphis, which ranked among the nation’s highest airfares while it served as a fortress hub for Delta, dropped to 14th on the list of the top 100 airports in the country, according to fourth-quarter numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Average roundtrip domestic airfares at Memphis fell to $434.43 from a year earlier, down 10.8 percent. The national average for the same period was $381.05. The airport has experienced a $65 decline in average ticket prices since 2011.

The drop in fares was welcome news for airport officials, who are transforming Memphis from a hub dominated first by Northwest and then by Delta into an origin-and-destination airport with more competition and a focus on lower fares.

Southwest Airlines began service at the airport in November and plans on adding a second flight to Baltimore this summer. Frontier Airlines began serving Memphis again in March and American Airlines/US Airways announced it will add three daily nonstop flights between Memphis and Philadelphia starting June 5.

“This is very encouraging news for our passengers,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority. “The addition of low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines and enhanced competition among other carriers has had a positive impact on fares. We still have work to do, but we are trending in the right direction.”

Origin-and-destination traffic increased at Memphis. For the fiscal year 2014, origin-and-destination passengers, people who begin or end their trip in Memphis, have increased by nearly 65,000 compared to the fiscal year 2013.

Grizzlies’ Conley Wins Sportsmanship Award

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has been named the 2013-14 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner.

Conley is the first Grizzlies player to receive the Joe Dumars Trophy, named for Hall-of-Famer Joe Dumars – the award’s first recipient.

The NBA will make a $10,000 donation to Conley’s charity of choice, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, specifically for research related to sickle cell anemia.

Conley was one of six divisional winners (Southwest) and received 77 first-place votes out of a possible 334. For the 10th straight year, NBA players cast ballots for the Sportsmanship Award, which is meant to reflect ideals such as ethical behavior, fair play and integrity.

Final Masterworks Concert May 3

Final Symphony First Tennessee Masterworks Concert Planned

The seventh and final concert of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s First Tennessee Masterworks series will be “Beethoven’s Pastorale,” featuring Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, conducted by MSO music director Mei-Ann Chen.

Beethoven’s Fifth is a more turbulent-sounding piece, while “Pastorale” celebrates peace and is a kind of love letter to nature in general and the surroundings of Vienna in particular.

The May 3 concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. There will be a second performance May 4 at 2:30 p.m. at the Germantown Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $15 to $85; student tickets are $5.

UAW Withdraws Appeal of VW Union Vote

The United Auto Workers announced Monday it is withdrawing its appeal of the outcome of a union vote at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee.

In a statement released one hour before the scheduled start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Chattanooga, Tenn., UAW President Bob King said the union decided to abandon the challenge because it could have taken months or even years to come to a conclusion.

“The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga,” King said.

The UAW had filed its appeal after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712-626 vote in February, arguing that public statements from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and other GOP officials had raised fears about the plant’s future if workers there organized.

Leaked documents later revealed that Tennessee had tied a $300 million incentive offer for expanding the plant to the satisfactory outcome of the labor situation there.

Volkswagen wants to introduce a German-style works council at the plant to represent both salaried and blue-collar workers, but the company’s interpretation of U.S. law has been that it can’t do so without the involvement of an independent union.

The company issued a statement Monday welcoming the UAW decision as “an important gesture for a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga.” Volkswagen said it will continue to pursue its efforts to establish “a new, innovative form of co-determination in the USA.”

Corker and Haslam oppose UAW expanding its reach in Tennessee, arguing that a win at Volkswagen would hurt the state’s ability to attract other manufacturers and suppliers.

Court Refuses to Rehear Case on Tenn. Judges

A special state Supreme Court panel has refused to rehear a case that challenged the constitutionality of the way Tennessee selects its judges.

John Jay Hooker, a former Democratic candidate for governor who has long been a foe of the way Tennessee picks its judges, asked the court to rehear the case after it ruled against him last month.

Hooker has argued that the state constitution calls for judges to be chosen by contested popular election. Tennessee has a system that calls for the governor to pick someone to fill a judicial vacancy from a list of nominees submitted by a commission.

Voters will get to decide in November whether they want to change the state constitution to allow the governor to appoint judges and get legislative confirmation.

Manufacturers See Better Economic Times

Big companies are finally starting to spend money, and that could mean a better economy and more jobs.

Industrial companies such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar make expensive equipment that other companies need to buy to grow their business. They’ve been posting strong financial results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong.

That’s a sign to economists that businesses are confident enough to invest and hire because they see an economy strong enough to support growth.

Following the Great Recession, big industrial companies cut costs, slimmed down and gathered cash. They had to because their customers – other big businesses – found plenty of reasons not to spend.

Most Airlines Report Strong First Quarter

Even with the turbulence of severe winter storms and stubbornly high fuel prices, many of the major airlines are cruising and their stock prices are soaring.

On Thursday, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines reported record profits for the first quarter, usually the weakest time of year for the airlines. That followed a rousing report from Delta Air Lines a day earlier.

Still stuck on the tarmac: United Airlines, which lost another $609 million during the first three months of the year.

The No. 2 airline company behind American, United Continental Holdings Inc. is struggling to make the 2010 merger of United and Continental work. As costs rise, United is taking in less per mile from passengers – it’s not charging fares high enough to cover expenses.

Graceland to Receive Japanese Cherry Trees

The Japanese Consul General from Nashville is at Graceland Friday, April 25, along with a delegation from Japan to present three Somei Yoshino cherry trees for planting on the grounds of Elvis Presley’s former Whitehaven home.

Another Japanese delegation presented three of the trees in September 2012 to the Memphis Botanic Garden during the garden’s annual Japanese Bon Festival to commemorate the centennial anniversary of cherry trees being planted around the tidal basin in Washington, D.C.

Chihiro Kon of Hokkaido also donated 10 trees to be planted along Cherry Road by the garden and on Mud Island in honor of her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, who made their home on Mud Island.

Trustmark Corp. Reports Strong Q1

Trustmark Corp. had a strong start to 2014.

The parent company of Trustmark Bank reported net income of $29 million in the first quarter, up 13.2 percent compared to one year earlier. Trustmark president and CEO Gerard Host said the quarter’s results, coupled with its profitability and strong capital base, mark a positive start to its 125th year in business.

Among Trustmark’s other results for the quarter: Commercial real estate loans grew by almost $50 million, while the bank’s construction and consumer lending portfolios were relatively flat. Mortgage loan production during the first quarter was $230 million, down 16.6 percent from the prior quarter.

The bank said that reflected a decline in refinance activity following an extended low interest rate environment.

Agape HeartLight to be Held Aug. 15

Hope Presbyterian Church will be the site of the Agape Child & Family Services’ 16th annual HeartLight event Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.

Dr. Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, will be the featured speaker. Fortune Magazine recently named Canada one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” due in part to the Harlem Children’s Zone educational reform program.

Ten-time Grammy Award winner CeCe Winans will also take part in the event.

Ticket prices range from $15 to $40 and are on sale at agapemeanslove.org/heartlight-2014.

‘Date Knight’ to Benefit Memphis Athletic Ministries

More than 1,000 moms and sons are expected to be part of the second annual Mother-Son “Date Knight” to kick off Mother’s Day weekend Friday, May 9, from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum.

A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to Memphis Athletic Ministries.

Chick-fil-A is sponsoring the event, which will include a dinner, horse-drawn carriage rides, a climbing wall, a mother-son dance and arts and crafts.

For more information, visit chickfilamemphis.com.

ProudOnTV Connects with St. Jude

The patients and families at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have moments they would like to share with other family members and friends, but public social media isn’t necessarily the best avenue.

ProudOnTV, a private online diary solution, allows users to connect and share, but only with those they choose. St. Jude and ProudOnTV have come together with an ongoing fundraising effort by which supporters can purchase St. Jude gift cards with credit for their own basic ProudOnTV diary plan.

Fifty percent of the gift card proceeds will be donated directly to the hospital.

All parents and caregivers of St. Jude patients are being given complimentary ProudOnTV diaries.

Preventive Care Group Adds Memphis Partner

Primary Care Group LLC-Mid-South Family Medicine in Memphis has been named an EHE-certified preventive care center by EHE International, the oldest and largest preventive medicine specialist in the country.

Deborah McKeever, president of EHE International, said the continued expansion into the Memphis area and across the country is “a sign that more and more employers are realizing the benefits of standardized clinical protocols in preventive health and annual exams.” She called Mid-South Family Medicine a “perfect fit.”

For more information about EHE, visit eheintl.com.

Haslam: Prayer to Guide Execution Decisions

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he will rely on prayer and advice from experts when he is faced with last-minute appeals from death row inmates facing execution.

The Republican governor stressed at a forum hosted by the Christian group Q Ideas on Wednesday that he has yet to be confronted with death penalty decisions because of court-ordered delays.

“So I can’t honestly answer when it comes down to 11 o’clock the night before exactly what that would feel like and look like,” Haslam said.

Haslam said he would gather a team of experts in mental health and law enforcement and prosecutors to help him sort through the intricacies of each case.

“I feel like my responsibility is to literally dive into each individual situation, talk to as many smart people about that situation as I can, pray about it and make a decision at that point in time,” he said. “Again, that literally hasn’t happened yet, but there are quite a few coming.”

At the start of the year, 10 of the state’s 76 inmates on death row had scheduled execution dates. One of them, Nickolus Johnson, had been scheduled to die April 22, but was granted a stay last month.

Haslam told reporters earlier this week that he is also carefully considering whether to sign into law a bill to allow the state to electrocute prisoners in the event that it can’t obtain drugs used in lethal injections.

Civil Rights Museum Increasing Security

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis has increased security after finding a broken window and a man sleeping inside.

WMC-TV reports police responded to a call at the museum early Wednesday after security officers noticed a smashed window on the second floor.

The main section of the newly renovated museum reopened April 5, the day after the 46th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis. King was killed on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel, which was later converted into the museum in downtown Memphis.

Police say they found a man asleep in a bed of the motel, just a few doors down from where King was staying on the day he died.

Sales of New US Homes Plunge 14.5 Pct. in March

The number of Americans buying new homes plummeted in March to the slowest pace in eight months, a sign that real estate’s spring buying season is off to a weak start.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales of new homes declined 14.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000. That was the second straight monthly decline and the lowest rate since July 2013.

Sales plunged in the Midwest, South and West in March. But they rebounded in the Northeast, where snowstorms in previous months curtailed purchases.

New-home sales have declined 13.3 percent over the past 12 months.

“Our core view is that the housing market has stalled and won’t contribute” to overall economic growth this year, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Rising home prices have caused some buyers to back off at the lower end of the market, while new-home buyers at the top continue to buy. As a result, median sales prices jumped 12.6 percent during the past month to $290,000.

Home sales usually improve with the start of the spring. More would-be buyers venture to open houses. Families with children often begin to look for homes so that they can move once the school year ends.

MCA Students Present ‘Art of Storytelling’

Eleven students from Memphis College of Art instructor Elaine Blanchard’s Storytelling class will present “The Art of Storytelling” Saturday, April 26, at 8 p.m. at Theatre South, 1000 S. Cooper St.

As part of their class study, students practiced improving their listening skills by visiting five groups of marginalized neighbors, including homeless people, incarcerated women, adults with developmental disabilities, residents in long-term care facilities and men who were recently released after long periods of incarceration. They engaged in conversation with members of each group, then chose one person as the focus of their individual class project, creating artwork inspired by their stories.

Blanchard – a storyteller, writer, nurse and ordained minister – was recently recognized as the Vision Award Winner among the 2014 Women of Achievement for her project “Prison Stories,” in which female inmates were given the chance to tell their life stories as part of a play.

Paragon National Bank Announces Promotions

Paragon National Bank has made a flurry of recent personnel changes.

The bank has promoted Emily Friedman to portfolio manager and George Daley to commercial credit analyst. Friedman will be working with Paragon’s commercial lenders on developing their larger prospects and relationships by providing credit analysis, underwriting and related documentation.

Before the promotion, Friedman, who has been with Paragon since 2008, developed and managed a loan portfolio of $40 million.

Daley has been with Paragon for more than eight years, serving most recently as manager of the Saddle Creek banking center. In his new position, Daley is responsible for completing full financial analyses of borrowers, including global cash flow, generating credit memos for new and existing loans, verifying covenant compliance and borrowing base certificates, and researching industry information.

Meanwhile, Paragon has tapped Jon Roskos as vice president and Saddle Creek banking center manager.

Roskos will be working with the team at the Saddle Creek location to meet the needs of existing customers and to introduce others to Paragon.

St. George’s Adding Kula Fundraising

St. George’s Independent School is moving toward a new fundraising source for the school and its programs based on converting airline miles and credit and debit card affinity points into a kind of currency for charitable giving.

The school’s administrators are still finalizing details of how the program, called Kula, will be used at the private school. St. George’s has been promoting Kula along with other options for giving – including grocery cards, cereal box tops and canned food labels – and Kula giving is starting to outpace those sources.

Higher Costs Pressured Businesses in Q1

Rising costs for materials and labor appear to be pressuring businesses, according to a quarterly survey from the National Association of Business Economics.

During the first quarter of the year, 31 percent of businesses surveyed reported higher material costs, more than double the 15 percent that saw costs rise in the previous survey. Additionally, 35 percent reported rising wages and salaries at their businesses in the past three months, up from 23 percent in January.

Yet those who said they raised the prices they charge in the past three months remained unchanged at 20 percent, according to the latest NABE survey of 72 members, which was conducted between March 18 and April 1.

“It appears that businesses were not able to pass on costs increases, resulting in increased pressure on margins,” the survey findings said.

The quarterly survey by NABE is intended to gauge business conditions at members’ firms or industries. The April survey reflects first quarter results, as well as the near-term outlook.

Despite the cost pressures, businesses seem more upbeat about the direction of the broader economy. The survey found that 80 percent said they expect the GDP to rise at least 2 percent over the next year. Nearly three-quarters also said they expect labor market conditions to improve, with unemployment easing to between 5 percent and 6 percent in the next one to three years. And over the next six months, 43 percent of respondents expect their firms to expand employment.

Baptist Foundation Adds Dev. Officer

Penny Aviotti has joined the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation staff as a development officer. Previously, she managed First Tennessee Foundation, evaluating the distribution of dollars to nonprofit agencies throughout Tennessee.

Her chief focus at Baptist is supporting Baptist Trinity Hospice, including the Baptist Trinity Hospice House, the area’s first residential hospice. The hospice has served more than 800 patients since its inception, including those without the means to pay for their care.

Aviotti also supports the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, which offers free grief counseling, seminars and workshops to the community. More than half the individuals who attend grief counseling have experienced the sudden loss of a loved one through a traumatic experience such as an accident, suicide or murder. The Hospice House and Grief Center are located on the campus of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville.

Haslam Signs Bill to End Book Shredding

Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law to ban the shredding of Imagine Library books delivered to the incorrect addresses.

The governor’s office announced Tuesday that Haslam signed the measure sponsored by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and fellow Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson last week.

The bill directs the U.S. Postal Service to instead donate the books to pre-kindergarten or other programs.

The Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is a partner to the Imagination Library, which was created by country singer Dolly Parton in 1996. The program provides a book every month to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to the family, regardless of income.

The House passed the bill on a 93-0 vote, while the Senate approved its version 31-0.

Memphis Seeking Sustainability Designation

Thirteen communities in the Southeast, including Memphis/Shelby County, are hoping to be designated as sustainable communities by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA designated 13 locations as Valley Sustainable Communities last year and says 13 more are about to begin the review process. TVA executive John Bradley says the idea is to help communities be prepared when companies look for a site for their business.

Bradley says corporate executives report sustainability is increasingly important in locating a site.

The communities beginning the process in 2014 are Blount County, Tenn.; Crossville/Cumberland County, Tenn.; Florence, Ala.; Glasgow, Ky.; Huntsville, Ala.; Logan County, Ky.; Maury County, Tenn.; Memphis/Shelby County, Tenn.; Morristown/Hamblen County, Tenn.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Scottsboro, Ala.; Starkville, Miss.; and Tupelo, Miss.

First State Bank Given SBA Lending Honor

First State Bank has been named the 2013 Small Business Administration Community Bank of the Year for Tennessee.

The SBA Tennessee District Office each year recognizes and honors top lenders serving the small business community, and SBA lenders are awarded for their success in helping to provide capital necessary to grow small businesses and create jobs.

First State Bank, through its Small Business Lending Division, provides government-guaranteed lending to small businesses predominately in Tennessee and surrounding states.

First State Bank is owned by Community First Bancshares, a holding company headquartered in Union City, Tenn. The company has branches around the state, including in Memphis.

Tenn. Unemployment Drops to 6.7 Percent

In another sign of good economic news, Tennessee’s unemployment rate continues to dip.

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in March, which is down from 6.9 percent in February, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Last March, the state unemployment rate sat at 8.3

March’s decline was the seventh month in a row that Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped.

Economic Gauge Up for 3rd Straight Month

A measure of the U.S. economy’s health rose in March for the third consecutive month, a sign of stronger growth after harsh winter weather caused the economy’s pace to slow.

The Conference Board said Monday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.8 percent in March after a 0.5 percent rise in February and modest 0.2 percent gain in January. It was the best showing since a 0.9 percent gain in November.

Both hiring and consumer outlooks have improved, which along with interest rates fueled much of the index’s improvement. That offset a negative contribution from building permits. The index looks at a series of different indicators to spot peaks and troughs in economic growth.

Conference Board economists say the gains last month point to “accelerated growth for the remainder of the spring and the summer,” although it remains to be seen whether employers continue to hire at their March and February pace of almost 200,000 workers a month.

“The economy is rebounding from widespread inclement weather and the strengthening in the labor market is beginning to have a positive impact on growth,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at The Conference Board. “Overall, this is an optimistic report.”

Many economists expect the overall growth rate in the January-March quarter will dip below 2 percent because of the weather disruptions but they are forecasting a rebound in coming quarters to growth of around 3 percent.

Iberiabank Announces New Branch Managers

Iberiabank has announced branch managers for the new bank branch locations it got as a result of the recent Trust One Bank acquisition.

Ruby Fenton, who has 15 years of banking experience, has joined Iberiabank as vice president and branch manager for the Wolf River branch at 7860 Wolf River Blvd. Rick Vollmer, who has 17 years of banking experience, is vice president and branch manager for the Forest Hill branch at 3100 Forest Hill-Irene Road, and Robert Wiles – who has five years of banking experience – is assistant vice president and branch manager for the Cordova branch at 1010 N. Germantown Parkway.

Finally, Stephanie Crosslin, who has 16 years of banking experience, is vice president and branch manager for the Laurelwood Branch at 370 S. Grove Park Road.

Iberiabank completed the Trust One acquisition in January.

May 6 Early Voting Nearing 1,000 Mark in Shelby Co.

Early voting in advance of the May 6 election day in Shelby County was poised to top 1,000 at the beginning of the Easter weekend.

The first two days of the early voting period in the Shelby County primary elections showed 847 citizens voted early or cast absentee ballots, according to figures from the Shelby County Election Commission. With no balloting on Good Friday, the voting period was to resume Saturday for a third day with several campaigns planning to include early voting rallies in their weekend plans.

The early voting period expands April 25 to early voting sites across Shelby County.

The entire early voting period runs through May 1.

Grizzlies’ Joerger Wins Coach of the Month

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger has been selected as the Western Conference Coach of the Month for April. Joerger previously won the monthly award in January.

In April, the Grizzlies posted a 6-2 (.750) mark, including a perfect 4-0 record at home. Memphis topped the Miami Heat on April 9, their first of five consecutive wins to finish the season. The team’s 97-91 win over the Phoenix Suns on April 14 clinched a playoff berth. On April 16, a 106-105 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks earned Memphis the seventh seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.

The Grizzlies finished the regular season with a mark of 50-32 (.610) in Joerger’s first year as head coach..

Economic Club Closes Spring Series with Shlaes

The Economic Club of Memphis closed out its spring series Thursday, April 17, with a presentation from syndicated columnist and author Amity Shlaes.

Her book about the Great Depression, called “The Forgotten Man,” has been named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books to read during a financial crisis. Her biography of president Calvin Coolidge was released in February, and next month, a graphic novel edition of “The Forgotten Man” will be released.

The Economic Club will start back up again with a new slate of presentations by keynote speakers in September.

Venture Investments Highest Since 2001

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into a growing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

Startup investments totaled $9.47 billion in the first three months of the year, up from $6.01 billion in the first quarter of 2013.

It was the highest since the second quarter of 2001, when investments reached $11.5 billion.

There were 951 deals completed in the quarter, up from 916 in the same period a year ago.

Software companies received the most money – $4 billion. Biotech was a distant second with $1.06 billion. The last time the software sector received this much money was in the fourth quarter of 2000, right as the dot-com bubble was about to burst.

The sharp increase in venture funding in the first three months of the year comes amid a cooling of investor sentiment toward publicly traded technology stocks. Since March, shares of companies such as Netflix, Twitter and Facebook have sagged. With some technology stocks down as much as 40 percent, as in Twitter’s case, the sharp decline is raising questions about whether the downturn is temporary or a sign that another bubble is about to pop.

That said, one reason for the high level of funding activity may be that VCs are investing in maturing companies. Later-stage deals are bigger than early-stage investments because they help startups expand rather than get off the ground.

The MoneyTree study was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters..

Unemployment Rates Fall In 21 US States Last Month

More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and were unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16.

The unemployment rate varies from as low as 2.6 percent in North Dakota to as much as 8.7 percent in Rhode Island. South Carolina has experienced the sharpest rate decline over 12 months to 5.5 percent from 8 percent.

The rate nationwide stayed at 6.7 percent in March for the second straight month. That national rate stayed flat because someone was hired for almost every person who entered the job market last month.

Tennessee’s rate fell to 6.7 percent in March.

Employers added 192,000 jobs nationwide in March, close to the average monthly gains of the past two years.

Ohio experienced the largest month-to-month drop in its unemployment rate: 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent. That steep drop occurred because the state added 12,000 jobs last month, while the total number of people in its job market fell 11,200 to 5.75 million.

Unemployment rates can fall when people leave the job market, as well as when employers hire.

Several states continue to lag the gains made across the country.

Unemployment remains elevated in Nevada (8.5 percent), Illinois (8.4 percent), California (8.1 percent) and Kentucky (7.9 percent).

Hollins to Speak At Southwest Tennessee Commencement

On May 3, 2013, Lionel Hollins was overseeing the Memphis Grizzlies’ first-round playoff-series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum.

This year on May 3, Hollins will be at the Landers Center in Southaven delivering the commencement address to Southwest Tennessee Community College’s 2014 graduating class.

The Grizzlies did not retain Hollins after last season, which included the Grizzlies winning a franchise-high 56 games and reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time.

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