By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Mississippi’s unemployment rose again in February, but that bad sign was contradicted by a strong rise in the number of jobs on employer payrolls.
The clashing numbers, gathered through separate surveys, raise questions about whether Mississippi’s economy is on the mend or headed back to intensive care.
The jobless rate rose to 9.6 percent from 9.3 percent in January, and was also above the 9.2 percent rate of February 2012.
A separate survey of employer payrolls shows nonfarm employees rose by 5,500 from January and stood 17,000 above February 2012.
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security reported figures Wednesday.
The state’s job market grew in the fall after struggling earlier in 2012. Overall recovery from the recessions has been slow, with 3.8 percent fewer jobs than in January 2008.