Unemployment rate down for October

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mississippi’s average unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in October, down from September’s average of 6.1 percent.

The rate in Pearl River County is 5.9 percent, down from the previous month’s 6 percent, according to a press release from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Mississippi’s labor force showed slight strengthening over the month as residence-based employment showed an increase of 7,400 while the jobless count declined by about 1,800. Employment increases were validated by an increase of 2,300 jobs in non-farm employment, compared to September’s figures, the release states.

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Job gains were reported in construction, retail trade and public education.

Most Mississippi counties had unemployment figures at or slightly below September’s level with Rankin and Lafayette counties holding the lowest rates at 3.9 and 4.1 percent respectively.

The county with the highest unemployment rate was Clay County with 12.7, but that rate is down from the previous month’s rate of 16.2 percent, the release states. Jefferson County had the second highest rate at 11.4 percent, also down from the previous month’s figure of 12.5 percent.

Counties surrounding Pearl River County showed similarly low unemployment rates. Hancock County had a unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, while Harrison and Stone counties both had rates of 5.4 percent. Marion County was slightly higher with 6 percent unemployment, however Lamar County had a rate of 4.3 percent while Forrest had a rate of 4.8 percent.

“If past trends hold true, labor force conditions for November should not change significantly for the state as a whole. Local areas with a concentration of retail jobs should see lower rates, while those dependent on agricultural jobs might show increased unemployment,” said Wayne Gasson, Chief of Labor Market Information for MDES.