Cities beat national jobless rate

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — Unemployment rates were higher in April than a year earlier in all 372 metropolitan areas (MSAs), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. All four of Mississippi’s MSAs were well up, though all four were well below the national average.

Thirteen areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15 percent, while 31 areas registered rates below 5 percent.

From March 2009 to April 2009, all four of Mississippi’s MSAs saw a decline in unemployment. Gulfport-Biloxi’s unemployment from 7.9 percent to 7.1 percent, Hattiesburg went from 7 percent to 6.3 percent, Jackson fell from 7.4 percent to 6.7 percent and Pascagoula 8.5 percent to 7.6 percent.

However, compared to April 2008, all four MSAs saw a sharp increase in joblessness. In April 2008, Gulfport-Biloxi’s rate was 4.8 percent, Hattiesburg’s was 4.6 percent, Jackson’s was 4.5 percent and Pascagoula’s was 4.8 percent.

Among the large areas, New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La., had the lowest jobless rates in April, 5.3 percent.

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