Region's unemployment dips to 11.2 percent

NEMS unemployment
The jobless rates for the region’s 16 counties and month-to-month change:
County June May Change
Alcorn 12.5 13.1 -0.6
Benton 14.7 13.8 -0.9
Calhoun 13.5 13.9 -0.4
Chickasaw 13.4 13.7 -0.3
Clay 16.9 17.1 -0.2
Itawamba 11.0 11.4 -0.4
Lafayette 8.8 8.3 + 0.5
Lee 10.7 10.7 NC
Marshall 13.4 13.5 -0.1
Monroe 14.6 14.6 NC
Oktibbeha 9.4 8.3 +1.1
Pontotoc 9.9 10.0 -0.1
Prentiss 12.7 13.2 -0.5
Tippah 13.8 14.4 -0.6
Tishomingo 11.9 12.2 -0.3
Union 9.8 10.1 -0.3
* Region unemployment rate/last month: 11.2 /11.6
* Total employed/last month: 193,420/194,410
* Total unemployed/last month: 24,400/25,580

By Dennis Seid
Daily Journal
Like the rest of the state the unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi fell, but the figure is still historically high for the region at 11.2 percent.
Twelve of the region’s 16 counties posted lower figures from a month earlier, while Lee and Monroe were unchanged. Lafayette and Oktibbeha reported increases in June, likely from the increase in the number of workers entering the work force.
According to estimates provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, June’s jobless rate was the fifth month this year that the 16-county region posted a jobless rate of at least 11 percent.
While the labor force – the number of people employed or seeking employment – in the region dropped from 219,990 in May to 217,820 in June, the number of employed also fell, from 194,410 to 193,420. The number of unemployed also dropped, from 25,580 in May vs. 24,400 in June.
However, compared to a year ago, the change was much more dramatic.
In June 2008, the region’s labor force was about the same – 217,560. But the number of employed was 198,220, keeping the jobless rate at a more manageable 8.8 percent.
Statewide, the June unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, compared to 9.7 percent a month earlier. A year ago, the figure was 7.7 percent.
According to MDES, Mississippi was one of 12 states that did not experience an increase in June. The number of unemployed increased by 1,500, while the number of employed was unchanged.
Nationwide, the jobless rate was 9.7 percent, compared to 9.1 percent a month earlier and 5.7 percent a year earlier.
Across Mississippi, 25 of the 82 counties had rates lower than 9.8 percent. Fifty-four counties posted double-digit rates, including 13 of the 16 counties in Northeast Mississippi.

Dennis Seid