State’s jobless rate rises in July, stays U.S. worst

news_economic_greenBy Jeff Amy

Associated Press

JACKSON – Mississippi’s unemployment rate continued to go in the wrong direction in July, remaining the highest in the nation.

The jobless rate rose to 8 percent in July, the third straight monthly increase, as the number of people reporting they had a job fell faster than the labor force.

Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in June, but was below the 8.7 percent rate of July 2013.

A separate survey showed employer payrolls rose slightly.

Both sets of figures – adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes – were released Monday by the U.S. Labor Department.

The report said 101,200 Mississippians were unemployed in July, up by fewer than 1,000 from June but down from 111,200 without jobs in July 2013. The number of Mississippians looking for a job fell in July, but the number of people saying they had work fell faster, driving up the number of jobless people and the unemployment rate.

Jobless rates rose in 30 states, fell in eight and were unchanged in 12. North Dakota retained the nation’s lowest jobless rate at 2.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate rose to 6.2 percent in July from 6.1 percent in June. That’s lower than the 7.3 percent rate in July 2013.

The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator. Mississippi’s nonfarm payrolls rose by 1,300 in July to 1.12 million. Payrolls were about 12,000 higher than in July 2013.

“You cannot ignore the fact that employers are reporting job gains,” Nicole Webb, spokeswoman for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, wrote in an email.

But Mississippi still has 3.5 percent fewer workers than the all-time high recorded in February 2008.

Payrolls rose in Mississippi in sectors including trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; education and health services and manufacturing. Payrolls fell in leisure and hospitality, construction and government, while they were flat in financial activities.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 13.6 percent in Mississippi from July 2013 through June 2014, the most recent figures released. That includes people looking for work only sporadically, who have given up looking or who work part time because they can’t find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 12.9 percent during the same period.



State employment report:

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  • Jack Makokov

    Again: how is incentivizing a few companies here and there a winning strategy for improving the economy statewide? Going from the sixth-worst to league-leading unemployment in a year’s time is impressive. Here’s hoping Phil gets a new Silver Shovel Award for that.

    Let’s see our current state leadership’s thoughts on yesterday’s news:

    “These gosh danged unemployment numbers just keep on lying, you guys!” – Phil Bryant

    “I don’t see a problem here.” – Mississippi Development Foundation

    “Mississippi values and tax cuts, y’all!” – Tate Reeves


  • harryblah

    Mississippi is becoming the best of the worst. guess it’s something we all should be proud of. we’re the most corrupt state and have the highest rate of unemployed and the most babies born to teenage mothers. but it is all Mississippians fault for electing these greedy pigs and not having them help us and not themselves. we all saw how fast tupelo caved when cooper tire threatened yet again to close the plant. Toyota was given incentives to come here but no incentives to hire only local people and qualified ones at that. yokohama was given the same deal, come here but hire from all over the world not locally.

  • countrydawg

    This must be that “Blue Economy” the MDA talks about. Or is it those “Mississippi Conservative Values?” In the past year, we’ve seen: ZERO action on Medicaid expansion, no real plan to attract jobs–other than giving money to manufacturers–and reducing funding to already cash-strapped public schools. You know, things that would actually improve the state’s economy.

    The GOP clown car did find the time to ban nonexistent bans on soda sizes, take BP settlement funds to build a ballpark on the coast, give taxpayer monies to private contractors–including nearly $20M to build an outlet mall, restrict abortion rights, give about $300M to lobbyists in 2013, and approved raises for the governor’s staff during this past legislative session.