Region’s jobless rate falls to 10.3 percent

The unemployment rate for Northeast Mississippi has been in double digits all year, and nothing changed in September.
However, the 10.3 percent jobless rate is a full percentage point lower than August. And September’s rate is the lowest of the year, just a shade under April’s 10.4 percent.
Last month’s jobless rate also marks the second straight drop, after three consecutive increases that culminated in a 12.4 percent rate in July, the highest of the year.
In September 2008, the rate for Northeast Mississippi was 8.7 percent.
Estimates provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security show that 192,530 people were employed in the region in September, compared to 189,250 a month earlier. The number of unemployed fell from 24,200 in August to 22,130.
All 16 counties posted lower jobless rates in September than in August.
But whether that trend continues is difficult to project. Most economists expect unemployment nationwide will continue rising through the middle of next year even as the economy slowly recovers from the recession.
The nation’s unemployment rate hit a 26-year high of 9.8 percent in September and is expected to reach 10 percent this year.
In Mississippi, the unemployment rate for September fell from 9.7 percent to 8.8 percent.
The U.S. Labor Department said Wednesday that rates increased in 23 states last month and fell in 19. Nevada, Rhode Island and Florida in September posted their highest jobless rates on records dating to 1976.
In Mississippi, all 82 counties recorded lower jobless rates from a month earlier, but only 27 counties had rates 8.8 percent or lower.
Lafayette County (6.9) was the lowest in Northeast Mississippi. The lowest jobless rate in the state was in Rankin County at 5.6 percent. The highest was in Clay County, which was 17.8 percent.
Statewide, employment losses were the greatest in trade, transportation and utilities and the leisure and hospitality industry.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal