Region’s jobless rate jumps to 13.4%

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

Doubts about the pace of an economic recovery haven’t helped with employment, and the latest figures for Mississippi reflect that sentiment.
The state’s unemployment rate rose from 11.1 percent in June to 11.5 percent in July, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
In Northeast Mississippi, employers added a few more workers in July compared to a month earlier, but a larger labor pool helped push the unemployment rate to its second-highest figure this year.
According to MDES estimates, the unemployment rate in the 16-county region in July was 13.4 percent, up from June’s 12.6 percent.
The total number of employed was essentially flat – 181,530 in July compared to 181,340 in June. But the labor force – the number of people eligible for work or actively looking for work – increased from 207,440 in June to 209,570 in July.
In July 2009, the statewide rate was 10.4 percent; in Northeast Mississippi it was 12.6 percent.
Only 21 counties in July statewide posted jobless rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 11.5 percent. Of the 16 Northeast Mississippi counties, only Lafayette (9.8) did so.
The region recorded its 16th straight double-digit jobless rate in July and the 18th time in the past 19 months.
The region’s employment picture looks to improve in the next several months, however, with Monday’s announcement by Toyota that it had started accepting applications for 1,350 hourly jobs at its assembly plant being built in Blue Springs.
Toyota suppliers also will employ about 2,000 workers, but they have not announced their hiring plans yet.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.