FACTBOX

Northeast Mississippi unemployment

The jobless rates for the region's 16 counties and month-to-month change:

County Jan. Dec. Change

Alcorn 7.5 7.6 -0.1

Benton 10.9 11.5 -0.6

Calhoun 8.2 8.4 -0.2

Chickasaw 9.8 9.9 -0.1

Clay 12.7 12.3 +0.4

Itawamba 7.4 7.2 +0.2

Lafayette 5.0 4.4 +0.6

Lee 6.1 6.4 -0.3

Marshall 6.5 9.2 -2.7

Monroe 8.8 8.9 -0.1

Oktibbeha 6.7 6.4 +0.3

Pontotoc 6.2 6.2 NC

Prentiss 9.0 9.3 -0.3

Tippah 7.5 7.6 -0.1

Tishomingo 8.4 8.0 +0.4

Union 6.7 6.6 +0.1

- Region unemployment rate: 7.3

- Total employed: 203,040

- Total unemployed: 15,950

Region's jobless rate in Jan. at 7.3 percent

By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

The unemployment rate for Northeast Mississippi dipped to 7.3 percent in January, down from 7.4 percent from the revised December rate.

The region's 16 counties saw the overall labor force fall by more than 10,000, with a corresponding drop in the number of employed, from 211,580 to 203,040. But the number of unemployed also fell, from 16,970 to 15,950.

The labor force numbers fell in large part because students were returning to school, taking out a chunk of eligible workers in January.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, down three-tenths from December, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Seasonal employment affected the numbers, with counties heavy in agricultural or retail jobs seeing the greatest impact, MDES said.

Nine of the 16 counties in Northeast Mississippi posted a drop in unemployment rate, with six posting higher rates. Pontotoc County's 6.2 percent rate was unchanged. Eleven of the counties had lower rates in January than a year earlier.

Lafayette County's 5.0 percent jobless rate was the lowest in the region and the sixth-lowest in the state.

Statewide, there was a net loss of about 14,700 jobs, mostly from retail, construction and non-farm sectors.

Wayne Gasson, MDES chief of labor market information, expects the February numbers to change very little.

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