Area unemployment spikes, still lower than last year



Slim Smith



Although unemployment rates spiked in Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties in May -- increases of anywhere from 1 percent to 1.7 percent compared to April -- data released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security suggests that the unemployment rates have flattened after a steady increase over the past year. 


The jumps in unemployment in May most likely reflect the end of the school year, when students begin looking for summer jobs, a situation that regularly sees jobless rates jump as students compete for limited job opportunities. 


Yet compared to May 2017, the numbers suggest that the unemployment rate is stabilizing, with all four counties showing May jobless numbers that are only slightly lower than those of last May. 


When adjusted for seasonal patterns (including the end of the school year), something done only at the state and national level, Mississippi's unemployed increase by 0.1 percent while the national unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percent. 


Despite the increase, there are more Mississippians working today than at any time since July 2008. As of May, there were 1,218,700 people in the state with jobs.


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



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