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Lowndes jobless rate continues to fall




Nathan Gregory



There were 4,100 more jobs across the state last month than there were in April and 15,300 more than in May 2013, according to figures released Wednesday by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. 


Data from Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Clay counties follow the trend of unemployment decline in Mississippi. However, Noxubee and Clay counties ranked second and third among the state's 82 counties for the highest rates by percentage.  


Out of about 7,070 employable people in Clay County, 16.2 percent, or 1,150 people, were looking for work last month. That's down 1.6 percent from 17.8 percent in May 2013. 


Approximately 590 people in Noxubee County were looking for jobs out of 3,590, an unemployment rate of 16.5 percent. Only Issaquena County had a higher percentage with 16.8. 


Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties saw slightly lower rates than a year ago. Lowndes' unemployment rate last month was 9.5 percent, two tenths of a percent down from the previous May. There were an estimated 2,520 people on the job hunt there while 24,100 had work. 


Oktibbeha County's rate last month was 8.1 percent, a tenth of a percent higher than the statewide average and an improvement of 0.7 percent from May 2013. About 1,770 people there were unemployed and there were 19,920 jobs. 


The statewide rate was down almost 1 percent from May 2013 when it was 8.9, but it was up from the six-year low reported in April, which was 6.8 percent. It marks the lowest May rate in Mississippi since 2008, when the rate was 6.9. There were roughly 1,167,600 employed statewide while 101,000 were looking for work. 


Seasonally adjusted, the state's May 2014 unemployment rate was 7.7 percent compared to a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 8.0. Seasonally adjusted data removes the effects of events that follow a regular pattern such as weather, school academic years and holidays. According to MDES, those adjustments better indicate the cyclical and other non-seasonal movements in a data series.  


Amounts are seasonally adjusted only at the state and national levels. The national unemployment rate in May was 7.5 percent. 


MDES employment statistics are compiled using a monthly survey of households and designed so those over 16 years old are classified into one of three groups: employed, unemployed or not in the labor force. Households in surveys are rotated out to ensure that 75 percent of them are consistent from one month to the next and 50 percent of them are consistent from the same month of the previous year.


Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.



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