June 22, 2017 10:49:55 AM
School is out ... and it shows.
While Mississippi's jobless rate in May reached a landmark low by one measure, the jobless rates jumped significantly by another, influenced by the end of the school year.
Data from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security showed the unemployment rates of all four Golden Triangle counties spiked by more than a percentage point in May when compared to the previous month as high schools and colleges ended their school year and job-seeking students moved into the workforce.
Despite that surge in unemployment -- anywhere from 1.2 percent in Lowndes County to 1.6 percent in Noxubee County -- the jobless rates for May were appreciably lower when compared to May 2016.
And when that unemployment rate is seasonally-adjusted to account for the end of the school year, Mississippi's jobless rate of 4.9 percent is the lowest rate since seasonally-adjusted rates were first introduced in 1976.
Seasonally adjusted data removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year such as the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events. These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other non-seasonal movements in a data series. Amounts are seasonally adjusted at the national and state levels only.
The state's unadjusted rate for May of 5.3 percent is a percentage point higher that the seasonally-adjusted rate, mirroring the increase found in the counties.
According to the MDES data, the state's labor force, defined as those age 16 or older actively seeking work, is 1,296,000. There are currently 69,000 eligible workers who are unemployed and 1,227,600 residents holding jobs.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]
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