State’s jobs picture improves slightly in November

Economic NewsBy Jeff Amy

Associated Press

JACKSON – Mississippi’s unemployment rate ticked down to 8.3 percent in November, as the state’s economy continued to progress slowly.

A separate survey shows state employer payrolls also rose. Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes — were released Friday by U.S. Labor Department.

It’s Mississippi’s lowest jobless rate since January 2009. The state’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in October and 9 percent in November 2012.

Mississippi tied with Minnesota for the sixth-highest unemployment rate among the states. Nevada and Rhode Island tied for the nation’s worst jobless rate at 9 percent, while North Dakota was again lowest at 2.6 percent.

Jobless levels fell or were unchanged in all 50 U.S. states in November, evidence that hiring is improving across the country. Employers added jobs in 43 states and cut jobs in just seven.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in November from 7.3 percent in October.

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 payrolls rose by about 2,000 during November. They’re more than 18,000 above November 2012 levels. But the state still has about 3 percent fewer jobs than it did in early 2008.

The professional and business services sector, which has been a star performer in Mississippi this year, added nearly 1,700 jobs in November, an increase of nearly 1.6 percent. Also posting gains were the trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; manufacturing and government sectors.

Dropping workers were the construction, financial activities and leisure and hospitality sectors.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 15 percent in Mississippi during the 12 months ended September 30, the most recent figures available. That number includes people who are looking for work only sporadically, have given up looking or are working part time because they can’t find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 14.1 percent during the same time.

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