Mississippi Unemployment Rate Up In May

Mississippi's jobless rate rose to 6.8 percent in May, officials said.

Unemployment figures for the three Coastal counties remain below the state average. Jackson County reported the highest rate at 6.3 percent, while Harrison County reported a rate of 5.3 and Hancock County came in at 5.1 percent.

The statewide unemployment rate for April was 6.5 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate in May was 5.5 percent.

The Mississippi Employment Security Commission said Tuesday that most counties had higher figures because the overall economy was performing below last year.

Curt Thompson, MESC's executive director, said the number of unemployed people Mississippi was up by 20,700 over last year for a total of 89,400 out of work in May. He said the furniture, construction, farm and food and food-related manufacturing sectors showed job gains in May.

Thompson said there will another rise in the unemployment rate in June when student job seekers enter the market.

Clarke County had the highest jobless rate at 19.3 percent. Webster County had an 18.5 percent rate and Choctaw County had a 17.1 percent rate.

There were 25 counties with double-digit rates.

Rankin County had the state's lowest unemployment numbers at 3.3 percent. Lafayette County was at 3.4 percent followed by Tunica County at 3.6 percent.

Mississippi counties with the highest and lowest rates of unemployment in May:


  1. Clarke, 19.3 percent
  2. Webster, 18.5 percent
  3. Choctaw, 17.1 percent
  4. Jefferson, 15.3 percent
  5. Issaquena, 13.9 percent


  1. Rankin, 3.3 percent
  2. Lafayette, 3.4 percent
  3. Tunica, 3.6 percent
  4. Lamar, 3.8 percent
  5. DeSoto, 4 percent

Source: Mississippi Employment Security Commission