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State hits record low for unemployment rate



Slim Smith



Mississippi's 4.6 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2017 is the lowest rate for the state since the U.S. Labor Department began calculating state unemployment rates in January 1976, according to monthly data released this week by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. 


The jobless rate in the state is 0.9 percent lower than this time last year and 0.2 percent lower than the rate calculated for November. 


Even so, Mississippi's recovery in jobs lags behind the national average. The nation's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 4.1 percent, which is 0.6 percent lower than in December 2016. 


Among the Golden Triangle counties, Oktibbeha County recorded the lowest jobless rate in July at 4.1 percent, but is the only county in that group to have seen its unemployment rate rise compared to November (0.1 percent). All four of the Golden Triangle county rates are down significantly compared to December 2016. The jobless rate in Clay County is 1.6 percent lower, followed by Noxubee County (down by 1.5 percent), Oktibbeha County (by 1.1 percent) and Lowndes (by 0.8 percent). 


The average unemployment rate in 2017 for 5.3 percent in Lowndes County, 4.8 percent in Oktibbeha County, 6.6 percent in Clay County and 7.3 percent in Noxubee County. 


The city of Columbus' unemployment rate for December was 5, a whopping 6.2 percent lower than it was in December 2016.


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



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