Job numbers show improvement for most across region

SDN Staff
Staff Writer

November signaled good news for the region’s economy as counties in the Golden Triangle area saw year-over-year improvement in unemployment.

According to preliminary numbers released Wednesday by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, both Clay and Lowndes counties saw unemployment drop from last November, while Oktibbeha County saw unemployment rise slightly.

Clay County saw improvement from 5.9 percent unemployment this time last year, as the unemployment percentage fell to a preliminary 5.4 percent for November 2018.

The most recent numbers reported that the labor force for Clay County, which includes every county resident that is employed or actively seeking work, is at 7,680, with 7,270 employed and 410 out of work.

Lowndes County reported unemployment at 4.2 percent — a decent improvement from the 4.5 percent unemployment reported in November 2017. The county’s labor force came in at 25,150, while the number of employed is listed as 24,100 and the number of unemployed at 1,050.

The city of Columbus saw its job market improve over the year, falling to 4.5 percent unemployment from 4.9 percent a year ago.

Of the 9,950 people who make up Columbus’ labor force, 9,510 are employed, while 440 are out of work. While both the city’s labor force and number of employed fell slightly from the previous year, the number of unemployed improved by roughly 50 people.

Oktibbeha County was one of the few that reported a year-over-year rise in unemployment, with a slight jump from 3.9 percent in November 2017 to last month’s 4 percent.

While Oktibbeha’s labor force grew by 200, the number of those employed also improved from 22,540 this time last year to 22,770 in November 2018, with roughly 40 more people unemployed than the previous year.

In Starkville, the college town saw its unemployment rise slightly to 3.3 percent last month from 3.2 percent in November 2017.

The city’s labor force rose to 12,870 from 12,760 in November 2017, as the number of employed also improved from 12,350 a year ago to 12,440 last month.

The number of unemployed also rose in Starkville to 430 from 410 this time last year— representing a little less than half of the 950 Oktibbeha County residents currently unemployed.

MDES reports the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2018 at 4.7 percent was unchanged over the month for the state of Mississippi. When compared to one year ago, the rate was one-tenth of a percentage point lower than the 4.8 percent reported for November 2017.

The agency then cited the November 2018 unemployment rate as the third lowest level of unemployment ever recorded for the state.

The country’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.7 percent was unchanged over the month, and was four-tenths of a percentage point lower than the year ago rate of 4.1 percent.

Last month, there were 2,800 more jobs in Mississippi than in October 2018, and 14,100 more than November 2017, according to the seasonally adjusted results from a survey of Mississippi employers.

The current 1,172,800 jobs in Mississippi are the most jobs in the state ever recorded.

The state’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2018 was 4.1 percent, according to MDES, decreasing one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month’s rate of 4.2 percent.

When compared to the November 2017 rate of 4.3 percent, the rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point.

The number of unemployed decreased 1,000 over the month, while the employed total increased 3,200 from the prior month.

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased 7,700 over the month and 15,400 from one year ago.

MDES said the industry sector registering the largest monthly employment gain was trade, transportation and utilities.

For the month of November 2018, 26 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 4.1 percent.

Once again, Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of November at 3.1 percent followed by Lamar, Madison and Union counties at 3.2 percent.

Jefferson County reported the highest unemployment rate for November at 9.4 percent, followed by Issaquena County at 8.1 percent.