Region’s jobless rate drops second straight month

1STOCK Economic News Pen graphicNortheast Mississippi’s unemployment rate declined a second consecutive month in August, falling to 9.4 percent,

The 16-county region recorded its second-lowest jobless rate of the year, based on preliminary figures provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

MDES’ revised figures showed July’s rate was 9.5 percent for the region; the preliminary numbers indicated a 9.3 percent jobless rate.

April has been the best month for the region so far, at 8.5 percent.

Earlier, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said the state’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent. It’s the lowest state jobless rate since February 2009. Mississippi’s unemployment rate had initially been estimated at 8.5 percent in July, but that was revised up to 8.6 percent. The state jobless rate was 9.3 percent in August 2012.

The numbers – adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes – revealed the unemployment drop was due to a shrinking labor force.

That was the case in Northeast Mississippi, too.

In the region, Lafayette County (6.6 percent) had the lowest jobless rate, closely followed by Union County (6.7).

Ten of the 16 counties recorded rates under 10 percent. And from July to August, 10 counties had lower rates, three had higher rates, and the remaining three were unchanged.

For August, the number of initial unemployment insurance claims reached 10,205 statewide, compared to 12,042 a month earlier. Last August, the number of claims reached 11,0 00.

Continuing claims for August was 103,782, down from more than 112,000 in July, but nearly 15,000 less than a year earlier.

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