Region’s jobless rate falls again

news_economic_greenDaily Journal

Northeast Mississippi’s unemployment rate fell slightly, the seventh time in eight months the figure declined from the previous month.

February’s 8.3 percent jobless rate was only slight drop from January’s 8.4 percent rate, but it was 1.4 points lower than a year earlier.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security said earlier this week that the state’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent, also down 0.1 point from January.

State figures are adjusted to cancel seasonal changes; county figures are not adjusted.

Still, the jobless rate for the 16 counties of Northeast Mississippi has enjoyed a fairly steady decline since 2009-2011, when the recession pummeled the region with double-digit employment rates for 35 of the 36 months of the span. Last year’s unemployment rate for the region was 9.3 percent, compared to 9.4 percent in 2012.

For the first two months of this year, the average jobless rate is 8.35 percent. That compares to an average of 10.4 percent for the same period a year earlier.

February’s figures for the region showed the labor was 211,120, with 193,500 of them employed.

Four of the region’s counties didn’t see a change in their unemployment rate from January to February, six saw higher rates and six saw lower rates.

Last February, nine of the region’s counties posted jobless rates of 10 percent; this year, four had double-digit rates.

Lafayette County (5.7 percent) posted the lowest rate in the region, good enough for fourth-lowest in the state. Clay County (16.7 percent) had the highest jobless rate in the region, but it wasn’t the highest statewide. That dubious honor goes to Tunica County, which had a 17.3 percent rate.

Statewide, there were 6,538 new unemployment benefit claims last month, compared to 9,891 in Janauary and 8,323 a year earlier. Continuing claims were nearly 82,000, compared to nearly 101,000 in January and nearly 102,000 a year earlier.

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NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI UNEMPLOYMENT

The nonseasonally adjusted jobless rates for the region’s 16 counties and month-to-month change:

County Jan.’14 Feb.’14 Feb.’13

Alcorn 7.0 7.0 9.2

Benton 10.4 10.4 12.6

Calhoun 9.5 9.4 10.9

Chickasaw 10.5 10.3 12.1

Clay 17.4 16.7 19.3

Itawamba 7.8 8.0 9.5

Lafayette 6.0 5.7 7.7

Lee 7.7 7.8 9.2

Marshall 9.3 9.3 10.6

Monroe 11.3 11.4 12.6

Oktibbeha 8.5 7.8 9.6

Pontotoc 7.2 7.1 8.9

Prentiss 8.5 8.6 10.2

Tippah 9.5 9.7 12.0

Tishomingo 8.7 8.8 10.8

Union 6.4 6.4 8.5

• Overall region Jan. rate:8.4/Feb. rate:8.3/ Feb.2013 rate:9.7

  • Kevin

    So there are more minimum wage–no benefits–jobs available. Yippee! the great recession is over!