Riding the tide of 2013 employment rates

Published 4:54 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

The United States Labor Department released unemployment statistics last Friday that showed a slight but steady improvement for Mississippi residents in 2013. The trend of  improvement is expected to continue.

Surpassing the previous low point of November of 2009, when Mississippi had a rate of 8.3 percent for the state, November 2013 statistics show a rate of 7.6 percent for state and an even lower 7.3 percent for Pearl River County.

The state is still above the national average of 7 percent.

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Pearl River Community College Vice-President Scott Alsobrooks and staff of WIN Job Center in Picayune have shared some insight for the new year.

“We are not back to the “glory days” of 1995 – 2005 when the rate hovered around 5%, but it is an improvement,” Alsobrooks said.  “Our neighbors in Louisiana and Alabama (source Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis) are approaching the “glory days” and all indicators point Mississippi in the direction of a continued slight improvement in employment.”

The center says current key categories for job opportunities in Pearl River County are:

—Certified Nursing Assistants, sitters and personal care attendants

—Account services representatives

—Carpenters and cement finishers

—Truck drivers

“I know that the employment rates are better,” a WIN center employee said. “But you have to be cautious of the statistics because so much of it is based on the number of people who file an unemployment claim. Many have stopped filing because they have dropped out of the labor market – they have given up.”

The center encouraged those seeking jobs to put efforts in the proper perspective.

“Be persistent and motivated in your search. Sometimes people come in and have been laid off from their jobs. They need to think outside of the box and understand they are in a position where they will have to prove themselves again and may not reenter at the same salary point.

The center also said that job-seekers need to realize the importance of a good resume and being computer literate.

“Employers are looking for people with motivation, basic computer skills and a good functional resume that tells your employment history and what you bring to that employer.”

More information on the labor market can be found on the Mississippi  Department of Employment Security website: www.mdes.ms.gov  and www.bls.gov.