Mississippi Unemployment

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Mississippi's unemployment rate dropped a full percentage point last month. The unemployment rate in August fell to 6.3%. It was 7.3% in July.

The numbers released by the Mississippi Employment Security Commission show job gains in education, agriculture and professional and business services.

The retail trade sector also showed a gain of 1500 jobs from July and 4200 more jobs than last August. The August 2002 unemployment rate was 6.7%.

But Meridian WIN Job Center manager, Algene McQuarters, said the improved percentages can be misleading. He said the percentages are colored by the fact that many high school and college students left the workforce to return to school, and are not seeking employment.

Joblessness in east central Mississippi counties for August:

Kemper 9.4%
Clarke 7.0%
Jasper 5.1%
Lauderdale 6.5%
Neshoba 3.8%
Newton 4.8%

Rankin and Hancock counties were tied for the state's lowest rate at 3.2%, followed by Lamar and Madison counties.

Jefferson County recorded the state's highest unemployment rate in August at 18.6%, followed by Holmes and Tallahatchie counties.