By Daily Journal and AP
The unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi fell in August, but job growth was essentially flat statewide.
While the region’s jobless rate fell from 12.1 percent to 10.9 percent on a non-adjusted basis, the state’s rate fell from 11.1 percent to 10 percent.
Across Mississippi, the state had 6,500 more non-farm jobs.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the state’s jobless rate was 10.3 percent, down slightly from 10.4 percent in July.
Non-seasonally adjusted figures do not take into account and adjust for seasonal trends in employment such as the school year. MDES provides only non-seasonally adjusted data for the county-by-county figures.
For Northeast Mississippi, all 16 counties posted lower unemployment rates in August than July.
Still, as it has been the case for 21/2 years, the region’s jobless rate hit double digits for the 30th time in 31 months.
The private sector has added 6,500 jobs over the past year, while government shows an overall decrease of 200. Government employment got a big boost in August with the opening of the school year.
Overall, service-providing jobs accounted for all of the increase in sharp contrast with the goods-producing sector, which lost 5,000 jobs, or 2.6 percent of its workforce, in 12 months.
Manufacturing has taken the biggest hit over the past year with a loss of 4,700 jobs. Mining and logging, which includes petroleum, added 200 jobs, while construction lost 500 jobs.
The biggest gainers were professional-business services with 5,600 jobs and private education and health care with 4,600 jobs.
From July to August, the state showed 7,100 more jobs on a non-seasonally adjusted basis as school employees went back to work.
State economist Darrin Webb said that although there have been monthly fluctuations in jobs, “basically employment is flat in Mississippi.” He said he expected – at best – job growth at an extremely low rate, but warned that the economy is vulnerable.
“I think the risk of recession has increased substantially,” Webb said.
The number of initial unemployment benefits claims in August was 12,483, compared to 13,549 in July. Continuing claims in August numbered 136,478, down from 160,470 a month earlier.