Region jobless rate falls again

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For the fourth consecutive month, the unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi declined.

Last week, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security released preliminary numbers showing the 16-county region’s jobless rate fell to 8.7 percent in October.

That’s the second-lowest rate this year in the region, and only the seventh time since November 2008 the rate has fallen below 9 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate in October was 8.5 percent, matching the August and September rates.

The labor force – the number of people with jobs or actively seeking jobs – fell by 7,000 across the state. That figure has dropped every month this year.

The national unemployment rate in October was 7.3 percent, up from 7.2 percent a month earlier and six-tenths lower than a year earlier.

Peak unemployment statewide reached 145,289 in July 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are now more than 36,000 fewer unemployed.

And compared to a year earlier, there were about 13,000 more people employed in October than in October 2012.

State and national numbers are adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes, while county numbers are not adjusted.

In Northeast Mississippi, the labor force also fell, helping to shrink the jobless rate in October.

Eleven of the 15 counties posted rates under 10 percent, led by Lafayette (5.9), Union (6.4) and Pontotoc (7.2)

Clay County had the highest unemployment rate in the region and state, at 18.1 percent.

The jobless rate in Northeast Mississippi is averaging 9.6 percent this year, which is two-tenths higher than 2012’s average.

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