Report: February’s unemployment rate lowest since 1976

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2022

February 2022 in Mississippi was a very good month indeed, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 4.5 percent. That’s the lowest since the series started in 1976, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security reported in its latest publication of employment statistics.

The state’s seasonally adjusted series reported a decrease of one-tenth of a percentage point from 4.6 in January. The rate is two fewer percentage points compared to February last year.

There are two types of data counted; one is “not seasonally adjusted unemployment,” which is non regularly patterned, and “seasonally adjusted data,” which removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year, such as the influences of weather, holidays, opening and closing of schools and other recurring seasonal events. Adjusting each makes it easier to observe the cyclical and other non-seasonal movements in a data series, says a MDES report.

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The nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 3.8 percent decreased two-tenths of a percentage point over the month and was 2.4 percentage points lower than the year ago rate of 6.2 percent.

The Mississippian “civilian labor force” – everyone 16 and up who has a job or is looking for a job – numbered 1,265,800, with 1,209,500 employed and 56,300 unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 4.4.

There were 3,600 more Mississippi jobs in February 2022 than in January, and 38,800 more than February 2021, according to the seasonally adjusted results from a survey of Mississippi employers.

The number of nonfarm jobs at 1,162,200 is the second highest number the state has ever recorded. Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased 12,900 during the month. Industry sectors with the most monthly employment increases were professional and business services; government; leisure and hospitality; educational and health services; and manufacturing.

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2022 was 4.4 percent, decreasing four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month’s rate of 4.8 percent. When compared to the February 2021 rate of 6.6 percent, the rate decreased 2.2 percentage points. The nation’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2022 at 4.1 percent decreased three-tenths of a percentage point over the month and 2.5 percentage points over the year.

For the month of February 2022, 29 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 4.4 percent. Rankin and Union counties posted the lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 percent followed by Lafayette County at 3.4 percent. Jefferson County had the highest unemployment rate at 13.6 percent, followed by Humphreys County at 10.4 percent.

In Lincoln County, the unemployment rate for February was 4.0. Out of 14,920 available workers 16 and up, 14,330 were employed, while 590 were unemployed.

For Franklin County, out of 2,620 workers, 2,420 were employed in February and 140 were not, for a 5.5 percent unemployment rate.

For Copiah County, out of 10,750 workers, 10,200 were employed in February and 550 were not, for a 5.1 percent unemployment rate.

For Lawrence County, out of 4,600 workers, 4,350 were employed in February and 250 were not, for a 5.5 percent unemployment rate.

For Franklin County, out of 2,620 workers, 2,480 were employed in February and 140 were not, for a 5.5 percent unemployment rate.

For Walthall County, out of 4,940 workers, 4,680 were employed in February and 260 were not, for a 5.3 percent unemployment rate.

For Pike County, out of 14,410 workers, 13,600 were employed in February and 810 were not, for a 5.6 percent unemployment rate.

For Amite County, out of 4,390 workers, 4,140 were employed in February and 250 were not, for a 5.8 percent unemployment rate.

For Jefferson County, out of 1,880 workers, 1,620 were employed in February and 260 were not, for a 13.6 percent unemployment rate.

Initial Lincoln County filings of unemployment claims in February 2022 numbered 27, as opposed to 47 in January and 215 in February 2021.

In Lawrence County, nine claims were made in February 2022, 18 in January 2021 and 86 this time last year. In Franklin County, six unemployment claims were filed in January as compared to 12 in January and 32 in February 2021.

In the entire state of Mississippi, there were 3,462 initial unemployment claims in February 2022, 5,938 in January 2022 and 39,614 this time last year.

In February 2022, more than $2.6 million was paid in benefits, compared to about $3.5 million in January and more than $12.3 million in February 2021.

The labor force includes people age 16 and older who are able to work and are either employed or looking for work. This number does not include full-time students, members of the Armed Forces or those with farm jobs, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Monthly estimates of the labor force, employment, unemployment and the unemployment rate are generated by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, a cooperative program between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and State Employment Security agencies.

The numbers are at first preliminary, and then revised to represent all data present into a final report. To read the publication, click here.