Jobless rate rises to 11% across region

Roger Lee Anderson has been scouring for a job the past three months, hoping that 10 years of welding experience will land him employment soon.
“My wife has a job,” said the Prentiss County resident, “but we need two checks to make it.”
Anderson has plenty of company on the job hunt.
In October, the unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi was 11 percent, a slight increase from the 10.9 percent posted a month earlier and down from 11.9 percent a year earlier.
According to estimates by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, 11 of the region’s 16 counties recorded higher jobless rates in October compared to September. Four counties lowered their rates, while Union County remained unchanged.
Translated, those numbers showed 186,490 were employed in the region last month, compared to 186,870 in September. The number of unemployed rose from 22,810 to 23,110.
The region has posted double-digit unemployment rates in 21 of the past 22 months, peaking at 13.7 percent in February. For the year the rate has averaged 12.2 percent
No wonder a regional job fair last week in Tupelo drew about 2,800 people.
Among the potential employers was Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi and two suppliers, who between them are looking to hire nearly 2,000 workers in the next year.
Anderson hopes to get a job with Toyota or a supplier, but added that he doesn’t have a preference for any particular company.
“I applied with six other companies,” he said. “I just want to get back to work and do a good job for whoever gives me a chance.”
Job-seekers might have better luck in the two counties in the region with the lowest jobless rates: Lafayette (7.3 percent) and Oktibbeha (8.8).
Statewide, unemployment was 9.7 percent in October, down from 9.8 percent in September and from 10.2 percent a year earlier.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal