Region's unemployment continues upward climb

As the economic slump continues, the number of unemployed also grows.
In Northeast Mississippi, the jobless rate in March rose to 11.1 percent, matching January’s figure. In February, the rate was 11 percent.
That leaves some 24,520 unemployed in March in the 16-county region, about 330 more than a month earlier, according to estimates by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
In March of 2008, MDES estimated the region’s jobless rate was 7 percent, with about 15,020 unemployed.
Statewide, the jobless rate in March was 9.4 percent, up from 9.3 percent. Nationwide, the figure was 9 percent.
In Northeast Mississippi, eight counties posted an increased rate in March, seven had lower rates, and Oktibbeha was unchanged.
Thirty-seven of the state’s 82 counties recorded double-digit unemployment rates, including 13 of the 16 Northeast Mississippi counties.
Spared in that grouping were Lafayette (6.5), Oktibbeha (7.2) and Pontotoc (9.8).
However, across the region, the number of employed shrank from 197,550 in February to 196,090 in March.
The labor force – the number of people employed or seeking employment – also fell, from 221,740 to 220,610, helping to keep the unemployment rate from sliding higher.
Lee County, the region’s economic hub, saw its unemployment rate climb from 10.3 percent to 10.8 percent, the highest since 12.2 percent in July 1991.
MDES estimates that statewide, employment rose by about 6,700 from February to March. But compared to a year ago, the figure is a drop of about 38,000 workers. Most of the losses have come in manufacturing, transportation and utilities, professional and business services and construction.
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or


Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

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