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Mississippi jobless rate falls in October, payrolls fall

October sent mixed signals in Mississippi’s labor market, with unemployment improving but payrolls worsening.

The state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent from 6 percent in September, and was below October 2015’s 6.5 percent. The number of workers and people reporting jobs rose strongly, and people unemployed fell below 75,000 for the first time since 2004.

Mississippi had September’s fifth-highest jobless rate among states, with Alaska worst at 6.8 percent. The nationwide jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5 percent in September.

Mississippi payrolls dipped below last year’s level, a warning of economic weakness. That separate payroll survey, used by many economists as their top labor market indicator, fell slightly to 1.14 million.

The U.S. Labor Department released both sets of figures Friday, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.

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