Jobless rates continue to decline throughout the nation, a trend that is true not only of Mississippi as a whole, but of the Golden Triangle, too.
The April unemployment statistics released by the Mississippi Department of Economic Security show that unemployment has dropped by a range of 0.9 percent to 1.3 percent throughout the Golden Triangle compared to March, and has dropped by a healthy range of 1.4 percent to 3.4 percent when compared to April 2014.
Oktibbeha County’s unemployment rate now matches the national rate of 5.1 percent and is 0.6 lower than the state average of 5.7 percent. It was one of 30 counties to post an unemployment rate lower than the state rate. Meanwhile, Clay County’s unemployment rate fell by 3.4 percent compared to April 2014, the biggest reduction in the Golden Triangle. Lowndes County’s unemployment rate stands at 6.6 percent, a 0.9 percent decrease over March and a 1.4 percent drop compared to a year ago.
Unemployment rates in both Clay and Noxubee counties are 9.4 percent. Unemployment has dropped by more than a percentage point in each of those counties over the past month. Clay and Noxubee Counties have moved up the state’ unemployment list considerably since a year ago, when unemployment in both counties ranked at or near the bottom of the state’s 82 counties. Clay now ranks 69, Noxubee 70. Between the two counties, there are 1,100 eligible workers who were unemployed as of April.
According to Mary Willoughby of MDES, while much attention has been paid to expansion of the state’s manufacturing/industrial base, most of the statewide growth in jobs in April came in three other areas: leisure/hospitality; professional/business services; and trade/transportation/utilities.
In April 2015, there were 2,900 more jobs in Mississippi than in March 2015, and 8,900 more than April 2014, according to a survey Mississippi employers.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.