Unemployment rate up in May; still below last year

The Journal of South Mississippi BusinessJuly 9, 2014 

Job gains in South Mississippi came in leisure and hospitality sectors.

CHRIS PIZZELLO — AP

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased 4,000 over the month and 13,300 from one year ago, according to the May Labor Market Report from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Industry sectors registering the largest monthly employment gains were professional and business services; and manufacturing.

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2014 was 8.0 percent, increasing 1.2 percentage points from the previous month’s rate of 6.8 percent. When compared to the May 2013 rate of 8.9 percent, the rate decreased nine-tenths of a percentage point. The number of unemployed increased 15,100 over the month, while the employed total decreased 2,400 from the prior month. The nation’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2014 at 6.1 percent increased two-tenths of a percentage point over the month, but was 1.2 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 7.3 percent.

Across the Mississippi Coast’s three counties, May’s preliminary unemployment rate of 7.6 percent was up nine-tenths of a percent over April but down eight-tenths of a percent from last May. The drop from April resulted from the labor force increasing by 1,300 while the number actively employed dropped by 200. When compared to last May, the current labor force has declined by 1,490 while the number actively employed has increased by only 70, thus decreasing the unemployment rate over the year. Over the month, job gains across the Coast came in construction and leisure and hospitality sectors, while job losses were primarily in government sectors. Compared to last year, Coast job gains came in construction, retail trade, and leisure and hospitality, while job losses were primarily in manufacturing and government sectors. Jackson County saw an increase over the year of 1,400 new construction jobs, though many will not be permanent.

A similar pattern is seen across the 10-county South Mississippi region, where May’s preliminary unemployment rate of 7.5 percent was up a full percent over April but down nine-tenths of a percent from last May. The drop from April resulted from the labor force increasing by 2,050 while the number actively employed dropped by 850. When compared to last May, the current labor force has declined by 3,280 while the number actively employed dropped by only 520, thus decreasing the unemployment rate over the year. Over the month, job gains across the region came in construction, transportation and leisure and hospitality sectors, while job losses were primarily in government sectors. Compared to last year, regional job gains came in construction, retail trade and leisure and hospitality, while job losses were primarily in manufacturing and government sectors.

For the month of May 2014, 27 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 8.0 percent. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of May at 4.8 percent followed by Jones, Lamar and Madison counties at 5.7 percent. Issaquena County had the highest unemployment rate for May at 16.8 percent followed by Noxubee County at 16.5 percent.

Seasonally adjusted

In May 2014, there were 4,100 more jobs in Mississippi than in April 2014, and 15,300 more than May 2013, according to the seasonally adjusted results from a survey of Mississippi employers.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2014 was 7.7 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted series reported an over the month increase of two-tenths of a percentage point from 7.5 in April. When compared to one year ago, the rate was one percentage point lower than the 8.7 percent reported for May 2013. The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged over the month at 6.3 percent, but was 1.2 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 7.5 percent.

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.

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