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Unemployment rates continue to trend down



Slim Smith



For economists, 4 percent is considered full employment. 


This week, after October unemployment numbers were revised, Oktibbeha County has hit that magic number for two consecutive months while the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 4.8 percent, the lowest rate for the state since January 1976. 


Seasonally adjusted data removes the effects of events that follow a regular pattern each year such as the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events. Amounts are seasonally adjusted at the national and state levels only. 


The Mississippi Department of Employment Security released its preliminary unemployment report for the month of November and while the change in the jobless rates were minor compared to October, the strong downward trend in unemployments continues throughout the Golden Triangle, state and nation. 


Unemployment rates among the four Golden Triangle counties are, on average, down a half-percentage point compared to November 2016, but the jobless rate is dramatically lower than it was five years ago. 


In Clay County, the unemployment rate has fallen by a whopping 7.9 percent since 2012. It is 5.2 percent lower in Noxubee County, 4.7 percent lower in Lowndes County and 3 percent lower in Oktibbeha County. 


Among the state's 15 largest cities, unemployment in Columbus has fallen almost by half (from 10.2 percent to 5.2 percent) over that period.


Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]



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