By Daily Journal and The Associated Press
The unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi in May was unchanged from April’s 10.6 percent rate, but there were more people at work.
In May 2010, the jobless rate for the 16-county region was 11.6 percent.
Preliminary figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security showed 199,740 employed in the region last month, compared to 198,330 a month earlier.
Nine of the region’s 16 counties posted lower jobless rates, four counties were higher and three were unchanged.
High unemployment has saddled Northeast Mississippi for more than two years. May’s jobless rate was the 27th time in the past 28 months that it has been in double digits.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 10.3 percent, down from 10.4 percent in April. In May 2010, the rate was 10.4 percent.
The national rate was 9.1 percent.
Mississippi was one of 24 states that recorded declines in their jobless rates in May.
Only national and state figures are seasonally adjusted. The county and regional rates are calculated using non-seasonally adjusted data.
Mississippi lost 4,000 non-farm jobs between May 2010 and last month – mostly due to a drop-off of 11,100 jobs in government, MDES said. The figures are not adjusted for seasonal factors. The April-to-April comparison showed a gain of 6,600 jobs, while the March-to-March count was up by 9,200 jobs.
State economist Darrin Webb said the loss of 3,100 jobs between April and May was due to flooding that shut down businesses, including almost the entire casino industry along the Mississippi River, and high fuel prices that crimped consumers and businesses alike.
At the same time, the state seemed to be following the rest of the nation in seeing second-quarter economic growth slow, Webb said.
“We got hit pretty hard in May,” Webb said.
Webb said the flooding likely would have only a temporary effect on jobs, and the construction sector could see job gains as areas hit by high water repair and rebuild.
Over the 12 months, private business added 7,100 jobs. However, the goods-producing sector, including mining and logging, manufacturing and construction, continued to lag, losing 4,300 jobs. Private service-providing employers added 11,400 jobs for a 1.8 percent gain.
Outside of government, manufacturing lost 3,200 jobs, or 2.3 percent of its workforce in 12 months. Construction fell by 1,100 jobs, or 2.2 percent. Mining and logging, which includes the petroleum sector, was unchanged.