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May rate was 4.9% compared to 4% recorded in April

Students bump jobless rate up in May

An influx of student job seekers caused the state’s unemployment rate to rise during May from a record-setting low rate in April, the Mississippi Employment Security Commission (MESC) announced last week.

The May rate was 4.9% compared to 4% recorded in April, which was a 25-year low. The national rate for May was 4%.

“Traditionally, the unemployment rate rises in May due to the first wave of student job seekers seeking work,” said MESC executive director Thomas E. Lord. “In fact, we expect the rate for June to be ever higher when the full effect of student job seekers entering the job market is felt.”

Most counties recorded a rise in joblessness. Twenty-nine counties matched or bettered the state rate and only seven registered double-digit rates.

Oktibbeha County posted the lowest rate at 2% followed closely by Lafayette County with a rate of 2.2% and Rankin County with a rate of 2.3%. Jefferson County with a rate of 19.7% recorded the state’s highest rate.

The May figures showed that 1,214,500 Mississippians were employed during the month, while 62,200 were unemployed, a gain of 11,000 unemployed from the prior month.

Lord said that the May 1999 unemployment figure of 4.9% was well below the rate for May of last year when the figure stood at 5.5%.

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