Sluggish job growth remains rule in Mississippi

By Alan Sayre/The Associated Press

Sluggish job growth remained the rule in Mississippi last month as the state’s unemployment rate jumped slightly.

The Department of Employment Security said Wednesday that the state added 5,200 non-farm jobs in February — on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Mississippi had 13,200 more jobs in February than in February 2010, for a 1.2 percent growth rate.

The count from January 2010 to 2011 rose by 13,000 jobs.

Mississippi’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for February was 10.2 percent, up from 10.1 percent in January. The national unemployment rate for February was 8.9 percent, down from 9 percent in January.

Over the past 12 months, nearly all of the gain in Mississippi has been in the private service-providing sector, which has added 18,000 jobs. The government sector has chopped 5,100 jobs.

The goods-producing sector, which includes logging, petroleum, manufacturing and construction had only 300 more jobs last month than in February 2010, the state reported. Manufacturing has shed 2,600 jobs, construction is up by 2,400 jobs and mining-logging — including petroleum, has added 500 jobs.

In the service-providing sector, professional-business services gained 9,700 jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 3,300. Leisure-hospitality added 800 jobs over the year.

Among Mississippi’s metropolitan areas:

— Gulfport-Biloxi gained 1,500 non-farm jobs from February 2010 to February 2011 for a growth rate of 1.4 percent. That represented a gain of 1,900 service-providing jobs, offset by a loss of 400 goods-producing jobs.

— Hattiesburg recorded an overall 12-month gain of 800 jobs, or 1.4 percent. The area lost 100 goods-producing jobs and gained 900 service-providing jobs.

— Jackson posted a February-to-February gain of 1,900 jobs, or 0.8 percent. The area gained 1,600 goods-producing jobs, almost all in construction, and added 300 service-providing jobs.

— Pascagoula gained 1,200 non-farm jobs from February 2010 to February 2011. The area added 2,000 service-providing jobs and posted a net loss of 800 in the goods-producing sector. That included the loss of 1,400 manufacturing jobs over 12 months.