County unemployment stalls at 6.1% in October

Staff Writer

Employment in Mississippi reached its highest level in more than nine years in October and the jobless rate matched its lowest since January 1976, according to new numbers from the state Department of Employment Security.

But a deeper look shows not everything is rosy in the Golden Triangle.

In Clay County, 7,810 people were looking for jobs inOctober, down 270 from last year. At the same time, 7,340 residents were working, 130 fewer than in October 2016.

Overall, the jobless rate was 6.1 percent, down from 7.6 percent last year.

Despite improving year-over-year, Clay County’s unemployment in October saw no change from September’s 6.1 percent. In Oktibbeha County, 23,530 people were in the work force in October, down 150 from a year earlier. But the number of people with jobs jumped 110 to 22,580 from 22,470 over the year. Oktibbeha's jobless rate was 4 percent, tied for 13th lowest among the state's 82 counties.

In Lowndes County, 25,520 people were in the labor pool last month, down 320 from a year ago, while the number of people with jobs dropped slightly from 24,310 to 24,300, according to the state numbers.

Lowndes' jobless rate was 4.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent a year ago.

In surrounding counties, only Monroe saw improvement over last year in terms of the number of residents with jobs.

According to the state numbers, 80 more people were employed in Monroe County last month compared to the same month in 2016. In Chickasaw, 100 fewer people were working, in Noxubee, 20 fewer had jobs, in Webster 50 fewer and in Winston, 70 fewer.

According to the state's seasonally adjusted numbers, 1,153,000 people were working in October statewide. That's up 6,500 from the same month a year ago.

Seasonally adjusted numbers smooth out seasonal swings such as school holidays, holiday hiring, and other trends.

Meanwhile, the labor force fell to 1,272,000 in October, down 5,900 from September.

The unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. It was only thesecond time -- May was the other -- the seasonally adjusted jobless rate has been below 5 percent since the current formulas went into use in 1976.

The rate was 5.7 percent in October a year ago.

The nation's jobless rate was 4.1 percent in October.

The state's not seasonally unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in October as the labor pool declined 18,000 people from last year while 1,100 fewer people were working