The unemployment rate in Tate County dropped significantly in September, according to the latest estimates from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES).
Local jobless numbers dipped to 4.7%, a 1.1 drop from 5.8% in August and a sharp turnaround from the 6.8% figure Tate County posted in July.
Tate County ranks 30th in the state in unemployment and the rate of 4.7% includes 11,710 of the eligible 12,290 residents, at least 16 years of age, who were actively searching for employment in September but could not secure a job.
The Local Area Unemployment Statistics program generates monthly estimates of the state’s labor force. Statistics are a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and State Employment Security agencies.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines an individual employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey week; this includes all part-time and temporary work as well as full-time year-round employment.
The state jobless rate was 4.7% in September, compared to 5.9% in August and 7.0% a year ago. The national jobless rate was 4.6% versus 5.3% the month prior and 7.7% last September.
Last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy, the state’s labor force dropped drastically as many businesses closed or had to reduce hours and trim staff.
Forecasters said the economy has improved from the steep drop-off of a year ago, but inflationary pressures are starting to take their toll on businesses and consumers alike. And while jobs are plentiful, many employers who had difficulty with staffing issues last year are finding it even tougher this year.
Economists point to a range of factors that are likely keeping people from returning to the workforce. Many Americans in public-facing jobs still fear contracting COVID-19, for example. Some families lack childcare, while others are holding out for better jobs and/or better pay.
Yet the number of first-time unemployment claims has dropped by nearly two-thirds from a year ago in Mississippi. In addition, the number of total claims in September, at just under 50,000 statewide, pales in comparison to the more than 342,000 active claims a year ago.
Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.3 million Americans, or 2.9% of the entire workforce, quit their jobs in August.
Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased 7,100 September and was 23,900 higher than one year ago. Industry sectors registering the largest monthly employment gains were Professional & Business Services; Trade, Transportation & Utilities; Government; and Educational & Health Services.
For the month of September, 32 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 4.7%. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1% followed by Union County at 3.3. Jefferson County had the highest unemployment rate at 15.6%, followed by Humphreys County at 10.7.
September unemployment numbers for surrounding north Mississippi counties:
• DeSoto 3.5%, down from 4.5% in August
• Lafayette 3.4%, down from 4.8% in August
• Marshall 4.6%, down from 5.9% in August
• Panola 5.9%, down from 7.3% in August
• Tunica 6.8%, down from 8.1% in August
If you are searching for employment, visit the Tate County WIN Job Center on the Northwest Mississippi Community College campus in Senatobia or call (662) 562-3351 for more information.