Region's jobless rate stays at 13 percent

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

January’s unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi wasn’t as bad as initially feared, but at 13 percent, it still was the highest recorded in recent memory.
Earlier this month, Mississippi Department of Employment Security estimates showed the region with a 13.7 percent unemployment rate. But the agency warned the numbers were strictly preliminary and would be revised.
The MDES did just that on Tuesday. It also reported the jobless rate for the region in February was unchanged, logging an identical 13 percent.
Last year, unemployment in the region was 10 percent.
Statewide, unemployment last month stood at 12 percent, a drop of a tenth of a percentage point from 12.1 percent in January.
The national rate in February was 10.4 percent.
In Northeast Mississippi, 11 of the 16 counties posted lower jobless rates in February than in January.
MDES said 22 of the state’s 82 counties recorded rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 12 percent. The region’s only county that could claim that was Lafayette County (9.7).
Last month, the region actually saw employment grow from 178,570 to 180,970. Unemployment was relatively unchanged – 28,530 in January vs. 28,450 in February.
Statewide, about 4,000 workers were added to payrolls in February, while the number of jobless dropped by about 900 compared to January. But the figures represent a decline of 26,200 workers from one year earlier.

NE Mississippi unemployment
The jobless rates for the region’s 16 counties and month-to-month change:
County Jan. Dec. Change
Alcorn 13.9 14.1 -0.2
Benton 15.7 16.3 -0.6
Calhoun 13.9 13.0 -0.9
Chickasaw 15.6 15.8 -0.2
Clay 21.3 21.3 +0.3
Itawamba 14.1 14.3 -0.2
Lafayette 9.7 10.3 -0.6
Lee 12.4 12.6 -0.2
Marshall 14.9 13.8 +1.1
Monroe 15.6 15.7 -0.1
Oktibbeha 10.7 12.1 -1.4
Pontotoc 13.2 13.1 +0.1
Prentiss 15.3 15.2 +0.1
Tippah 17.9 17.6 +0.3
Tishomingo 15.4 15.5 -0.1
Union 12.6 12.8 -0.2
* Region unemployment rate/last month: 13 percent/13 percent
* Total employed/last month: 180,870/178,570
* Total unemployed/last month: 28,450/28,530