By Jack Elliott Jr./The Associated Press
JACKSO — Mississippi’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.1 percent in May, and the state was tied with Illinois for the second-highest seasonal adjusted jobless rate in the nation.
Figures were released Friday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Mississippi’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in April and 9.4 percent in March.
Nevada had the highest unemployment rate among the states in May, at 9.5 percent. North Dakota again had the lowest at 3.2 percent.
The national jobless rate was essentially unchanged from April at 7.6 percent but was 0.6 percentage point lower than in May 2012.
A 7,000-person decrease in the civilian labor force was the main factor for 0.1 percent drop in Mississippi’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate. The labor force was 1.320 million in April and fell to 1.313 million in May.
The state had almost 119,500 unemployed people in May, down from the nearly 121,000 in April, and the little over 121,000 in May 2012.
Marianne Hill, the senior economist at the state College Board, said Friday that Mississippi is creating jobs but not at a statistically significantly rate.
“There was a drop in the number of persons employed in Mississippi, according to the (household) survey on which the unemployment rate is determined. The fall in the unemployment rate, then, was only due to the fact there was a decrease in the number of persons looking for jobs.
“The payroll numbers, based on business surveys, show an increase of 2,700 jobs, however. This is a more reliable indication of trends in business,” Hill said.
The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator.
Mississippi’s nonfarm payrolls rose to about 1.220 million people in May, up from 1.119 million in April and 1.101 million in May 2012.
About 51,300 people worked in construction jobs in Mississippi in May, up from 50,100 in April and 48,500 in May 2012. Manufacturing jobs were down slightly to 134,700 in May from 135,300 in April 136,400 in May a year ago.
The number of jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; leisure and hospitality and government held mostly steady.