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Job gains drive rates lower

Unemployment dips to 25-year low

Mississippi’s unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level in 25 years during April the Mississippi Employment Security Commission (MESC) announced last week.

The April rate of 4% was the lowest the state has recorded since May 1974 when the rate was 3.6%. The April rate was also lower than the national rate of 4.1%.

Driving the lower rates were job gains in several sectors of the workforce and the return of workers to seasonal jobs particularly agricultural employment. Overall, 1,214,300 Mississippians were employed during the month while 51,000 were jobless.

“Manufacturing jobs rose by 500 spurred by increases in the furniture and fixtures, transportation equipment and rubber and plastics making sectors,” said MESC executive director Thomas E. Lord. He said that in the non-manufacturing sectors there were job gains in the construction, transportation, hotels and lodging and amusement areas.

“These numbers dramatically portray the vitality of Mississippi’s economy, particularly the fact that our state rate is under the national rate,” Lord said.

Most counties recorded a sharp decline in joblessness. Lafayette County recorded the lowest rate at 1.3%, followed closely by Oktibbeha County and Rankin County at 1.7%. Sharkey County had the highest rate at 16.9%. Twenty-six counties matched or bettered the state rate.

Lord said that normally the unemployment rate will rise in May due to student workers entering the job market.

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