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State adds jobs, but construction, manufacturing still down

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi turned overall employment in the right direction in 2010, adding 3,600 non-farm jobs, though the manufacturing and construction sectors continued to fall, the state Department of Employment Security said today.

That put the state down 3,700 jobs, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, from Dec. 2008, about three months after the economic freefall. The count rose by 700 last month.

All of last year’s growth came in the service-providing sector, which added 8,000 jobs for a 0.9 percent growth rate The goods-producing sector fell by 4,400 jobs, or 2.3 percent.

Construction sustained a 4.2 percent drop, losing 2,000 jobs. Manufacturing fell by 3,400 jobs, or 2.4 percent. Mining and logging, which includes petroleum, increased by 1,000 or 12.3 percent.

In services, the widespread professional-business services sector increased by 6,700 jobs, or 8 percent; education and health services gained 2,700 jobs for a 2 percent increase; leisure-hospitality added 2,200 jobs, for a 1.9 percent increase and trade, transportation and utilities was up by 2,000 jobs, or 0.9 percent.

Government employment at all levels in Mississippi fell by 5,500 jobs, or 2.2 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in December, up from 10 percent in November, and down from 10.5 percent in Dec. 2009. Along with last month’s job increase, the number of those actively looking for work increased, contributing to the rate increase.

The national unemployment rate for December was 9.4 percent, down from 9.8 percent in November and 9.9 percent in Dec. 2009.

In the state’s metropolitan areas:

• Jackson gained 2,200 non-farm jobs in 2010, for a 1.1 percent increase. That included 400 goods-producing jobs and 1,800 service-providing jobs.

• Gulfport-Biloxi, which is heavily dependent upon tourism, lost 500 jobs in 2010, or a decline of 0.5 percent. Goods-producing employment fell by 300 jobs, while service-providing employment decreased by 200.

• Pascagoula recorded a drop of 1,800 jobs, or 3.1 percent of the non-farm work force in 2010. Goods-producing employment fell by 1,400 jobs, or 6.5 percent, while service-providing jobs fell by 400, or 1.1 percent.

• Hattiesburg saw a jump of 1,700 non-farm jobs in 2010, for a 2.9 percent increase. Goods-producing jobs fell by 100, or 1.6 percent, while service-providing jobs increased by 1,800, or 3.4 percent.

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