Mississippi jobless rate falls to lowest level since 1976

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi unemployment fell to 5 percent in March, tying the lowest level since the current survey began in 1976.

That's down from 5.2 percent in February and 6 percent a year ago.

It's the 10th month Mississippi has dipped to 5 percent, including six months in 1999 and three in 2000.

Some earlier surveys show Mississippi had lower jobless rates between 1965 and 1974.

Lowe unemployment nationwide means Mississippi's jobless rate remained tied for ninth-highest among states. The U.S. rate fell to 4.5 percent in March from February's 4.7 percent.

Mississippi payrolls were flat at 1.15 million in March. That separate survey -- many economists' top labor market indicator -- was even with January 2016 levels.

The U.S. Labor Department released figures Friday, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.