While economic signs point to improvement, the employment picture remains clouded.
In April, the unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi held steady at 12 percent according to estimates by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
The 16-county region also logged a 12 percent jobless rate in March. In April 2009, the figure was 10 percent.
But the numbers could change; MDES revises data monthly, and last month, estimates showed the region had a 12.6 percent jobless rate.
Whatever the number turns out to be, it will be higher than the state’s 10.7 percent jobless rate in April, down from March’s 11.2 percent.
Statewide, the number of unemployed dropped 7,500 over the month, while the number of employed rose 2,000.
In Northeast Mississippi, the number of employed actually fell slightly, from 181,740 in March to 181,680 in April. The number of unemployed fell from 26,510 to 24,880.
Still, the rate declined in all 16 counties in the region from March to April. But 14 of them still posted double-digit rates.
Statewide, employment gains were seen in construction and leisure and hospitality.
Last month, 20 counties in the state recorded rates equal to or lower than 10.7 percent. Only Lafayette (8.2) and Oktibbeha (9.7) in Northeast Mississippi could make that claim.
April marks the 16th time in the past 17 months that the region as a whole has recorded double-digit unemployment. Last year, the region averaged about 11 percent; this year, it’s averaging about 12.7 percent.
Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal