State Unemployment Rate Drops In April

Mississippi's jobless rate dropped to 6.4 percent in April, the lowest level thus far this year, officials said.

The unemployment rate for March was 6.9 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate in April was 5.7 percent.

The Mississippi Employment Security Commission said Friday that the economy got a boost from farm workers returning to jobs after the winter layoff.

Curt Thompson, MESC's executive director, said about 1,900 jobs were added in the agriculture sector during April. Overall, he said farm jobs were up by 3,900 from a year ago.

Farming made up 2.6 percent of Mississippi's work force in April, 34,500 jobs out of a civilian labor force of 1.3 million.

Thompson said other bright spots were in the furniture, metal and wood productions and construction industries.

"April is traditionally a month when the unemployment rate is low,'' he said. "Weather conditions improve so that outdoor work can be performed.''

Thompson said there is usually a rise in the jobless rate for May when student workers enter the job market.

Issaquena County was the highest jobless rate at 18.6 percent. Webster County had a 16.5 percent rate and Holmes County had 14.9 percent rate.

Lafayette County had the state's lowest unemployment numbers at 2.4 percent. Rankin County was at 3.2 percent.

Mississippi counties with the highest rates of unemployment in March:

  1. Issaquena, 18.6 percent
  2. Webster, 16.5 percent
  3. Holmes, 14.9 percent
  4. Sharkey, 14.6 percent
  5. Choctaw, 14.5 percent

Mississippi counties with the lowest rates of unemployment in March:

  1. Lafayette, 2.4 percent
  2. Rankin, 3.2 percent
  3. Lamar, 3.4 percent
  4. Oktibbeha, 3.7 percent
  5. DeSoto, 4 percent
    Jones, 4 percent
    Itawamba, 4 percent
    Hancock, 4 percent
    Madison, 4 percent