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Unemployment stats show continued improvement




Nathan Gregory



For the month of February, Mississippi's jobless rate sank to the lowest it has been since October 2008. Rates in the Golden Triangle area also dropped. 


Percentage-wise, the county showing the most improvement was Clay County. In February 2013, that rate was 19.3 percent. Last month, 1,170 people there were looking for work, a 16.7 percent unemployment rate. Employers there had about 5,850 people on their payrolls. 


Thirteen months ago, Lowndes County's rate was 10.8 percent. Last month, 2,420 people were on the job market, a 9.2 percent rate. About 23,730 people had jobs. 


Oktibbeha County had a rate of 9.6 percent in February 2013. It was 7.8 percent last month. About 1,630 people were looking for work and about 19,180 had work. 


Noxubee County improved half a percent. Its February 2013 rate was 16.2. Last month it was 15.7, meaning 550 people were seeking employment while 2,980 were working. 


The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, which compiles county and state unemployment rates each month through survey data, had Mississippi's rate as 7.4 percent last month, a 0.1 percent decrease from January and the lowest rate the state has seen since October 2008. The state rate and national rate (6.7 percent) is seasonally adjusted, which means the data does not account for seasonal and recurring events such as holidays, school and college closings and weather. County rates are not seasonally adjusted. 


According to MDES, about 1,159,600 Mississippians were employed while about 104,000 were hunting for work last month. There were 4,900 more jobs than in February 2013 but 2,200 less than January 2014, according to MDES survey data. 


Not seasonally adjusted, the statewide rate was 8 percent, nearly a 1.5 percent from 9.4 percent in February 2013.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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