Region’s jobless rate falls to 9.3 percent

Economic NewsDaily Journal

Northeast Mississippi’s unemployment rate dipped to its second-lowest level of the year in July, falling to 9.3 percent.

In June, the 16-county region recorded a 10.4 percent jobless rate, the second-highest of the year, based on figures provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

A year ago, the region’s unemployment rate was 10.9 percent.

Earlier this week, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said the state’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in July, the lowest level in more than four years.

Those numbers – adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes – revealed the unemployment drop was due to a shrinking labor force.

In Northeast Mississippi, the story was the same. The labor force – the total number of people with jobs or actively looking for jobs – fell by about 2,600 people in July. The number of employed did not change.

The national unemployment rate in July was 7.4 percent, a drop of two-tenths of a percentage point from June.

In Northeast Mississippi, Union County’s 6.8 percent jobless rate was the lowest in the region, and was eighth-lowest statewide. Clay County’s 19 percent rate was the highest in the state.

Every county in the region did record a lower unemployment rate in July than a month earlier. Ten of the counties’ rates were under 10 percent.

For July, the number of initial unemployment insurance claims reached 12,042 statewide last month, compared to 10,514 in June. Last July, the number of claims was nearly 12,500.

Continuing claims for the month was more than 122,000, nearly 7,000 more than in June, but 27,000 lower than last July.