Region’s jobless rate falls to 11.2 percent

Numbers don’t always tell the story. And in the case for the unemployment numbers for Northeast Mississippi, it couldn’t be more true.
While the jobless rate fell in August to 11.2 percent – compared to 12.4 percent a month earlier – the actual number of employed people actually fell by more than 1,400.
So why the apparent discrepancy?
The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed workers by the labor force, which is defined as the number of people working or seeking work.
In July, the labor force, calculated by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, was 217,840 in the 16-county region. The labor force shrank by more than 4,700 a month later, according to MDES estimates.
So while the number of employed also fell from July to August, the number of unemployed also dropped – from 27,170 to 23,860.
Calculating the unemployment rate thus showed a lower unemployment rate.
So while it’s true there were fewer unemployed workers in Northeast Mississippi in August compared to July, there also were fewer employed ones.
Call it a good news/bad news report.
Nevertheless, the monthly jobless rate for the region is 11 percent or higher for the seventh time this year.
Last year, the August rate for the region was 8.8 percent.
All 16 counties in the region posted lower rates in August than in July. Twelve recorded double-digit rates, compared to 15.
Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent in August, down from 10.5 percent in July.
Construction and manufacturing suffered the biggest job losses, MDES said.
Nationally, the unemployment rate in August was 9.6 percent.

NE Mississippi unemployment
The jobless rates for the region’s 16 counties and month-to-month change:
County Aug July Change
Alcorn 11.6 12.9 -1.3
Benton 13.9 14.8 -0.9
Calhoun 11.1 13.1-2.0
Chickasaw 14.0 14.7 -0.7
Clay 18.4 20.0 -1.6
Itawamba 10.3 11.3 -1.0
Lafayette 8.2 9.9 -1.7
Lee 10.2 11.4 -1.2
Marshall 12.4 13.2 -0.8
Monroe 14.1 15.8 -1.7
Oktibbeha 9.5 10.9 -1.4
Pontotoc 9.7 10.6 -0.9
Prentiss 12.4 13.7 -1.3
Tippah 13.3 14.2 -0.9
Tishomingo 11.2 12.8 -1.6
Union 9.4 10.4 -1.0
• Region unemployment rate/last month: 11.2/12.4
• Total employed/last month: 189,250/190,670
• Total unemployed/last month: 23,860 /27,170

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal