Region's jobless rate falls to 12.6%

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Northeast Mississippi’s unemployment rate has dropped for the first time since November.
Preliminary figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security show the jobless rate in the 16-county region in March was 12.6 percent, down from 13.7 percent in February.
Statewide, the March jobless rate was 11.1 percent, compared to 12.1 percent a month earlier.
Job gains were registered in government; leisure and hospitality; educational and health services; and construction.
Twenty-one of the state’s 82 counties reported jobless rates equal to or less than 11.1 percent.
February’s unemployment rate for Northeast Mississippi initially was estimated to be lower, at 13 percent, but MDES revised its numbers.
So the March numbers might not wind up as initially reported.
But early estimates indicate the region managed to put more people to work and had fewer unemployed in March.
That corresponds with a drop in the labor force – the total number of employed or actively seeking employment – from 209,400 in February to 208,150 in March.
The jobless rate decline in the region was the first since November, when it fell from 11 percent to 10.4 percent. In March, all 16 counties posted lower rates than a month earlier.
For all of 2009, the region’s rate averaged more than 10 percent. The March 2009 rate for the region was 9.9 percent.
Statewide, Rankin County posted the lowest rate at 7.1 percent, while Noxubee County had the highest at 22.4 percent. In Northeast Mississippi, Lafayette County had the lowest at 8.6 percent, while Clay County had the highest at 21.2 percent.
The national unemployment rate in March was 10.2 percent.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.