By JACK WEATHERLY
The Mississippi economy was “relatively solid” in November, according to the University Research Center.
Its Leading Index – composed of six parts, including national figures — was 3.4 percent higher than the year-earlier month.
Income tax withholding grew for the second consecutive month for the first time since February, indicating an expanding payroll, according to the center, which is part of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
Residential building permits grew 1 percent in the month, after declining for most of 2017.
Unemployment was 4.5 percent, up from 4.4 percent in October and 5 percent in November 2016, according to the state Department of Employment Security.
Initial unemployment claims were down 21.9 percent from November 2016.
The U.S. gross domestic product for November was 3.2 percent after its third revision – indicating that it could grow by 3 percent for the year. That would be the most since 2005.
Employment in Mississippi climbed by 3,400 jobs in November compared with October, resulting in the highest level of employment since February 2008 during the economic recession.
The largest increase among private nonfarm sectors was in business and professional services, which added 2,800 jobs beyond October totals, according to the study.
The services sector in general constituted 36.6 percent of the work force and government made up 21.3 percent.
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