Newton County jobless rate rises slightly in December, state rate hits all-time low


Newton County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in December from November according to data from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. The jobless rate rose to 5.0 percent for December, up one percentage point from November when it was 4.9 percent.

Newton County was tied for the 39th lowest unemployment rate in the state along with Leake County. Unemployment rates usually rise during late December and early January because older high school students and college students are considered part of the workforce while they are out for the holiday break. The rate was the lowest for the county for December since 2003, when it was 4.8 percent.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 4.6 percent. This is the lowest rate for Mississippi since the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics began calculating state unemployment rates for January 1976 forward. 

The state’s seasonally adjusted series reported an over-the-month decrease of two-tenths of a percentage point from 4.8 in November.  When compared to one year ago, the rate was nine-tenths of a percentage point lower than the 5.5 percent reported for December 2016. 

In December, there were 2,900 more jobs in Mississippi than in November 2017, according to the seasonally adjusted results from a survey of Mississippi employers. Over the year since December 2016, the number of nonfarm jobs increased 17,800.

The current 1,162,800 jobs in Mississippi are the most jobs in the state since the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics began calculating state nonfarm seasonally adjusted jobs numbers for January 1990 forward.

Seasonally adjusted data removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year such as the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events. These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other non-seasonal movements in a data series. Amounts are seasonally adjusted at the national and state levels only.

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2017 at 4.5 percent was unchanged over the month. When compared to the December 2016 rate of 5.7 percent, the rate decreased 1.2 percentage points.