Number of Mississippians working continues to grow

By Aaron Rice
October 23, 2018

Mississippi payrolls have added more than 20,000 jobs over the past year with employment numbers setting a new record.

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now 1.17 million people in the state working. That’s a boost from a little less than 1.15 million a year ago. This is a statistically significant employment change of 1.8 percent. Only Tennessee, who saw a 2.1 percent growth, posted better numbers among neighboring states.

Alabama’s employment grew by 1.3 percent, while employment grew by 1 percent in Arkansas and Louisiana.

Mississippi added jobs in four sectors over the past month. The largest gains were in education and health services (+1,500 jobs) and government (+1,000 jobs). Manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities posted slight gains, while professional and business services growth was flat. Construction, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality showed loses over the past month.

Over the past year, construction (-200) is the only sector to post a decrease in employment. The largest gainer over the past year was professional and business services (+6,400).

Mississippi has also seen a large gain in the public sector, particularly over the past three months. Government has added 2,800 jobs over the past year with 1,600 jobs added alone in the past quarter. Government jobs account for 14 percent of the jobs created in Mississippi over the past year. This is significant because a growing public sector can often stifle the growth of the private sector.

In this measurement, Mississippi far outpaced our neighbors. Louisiana’s government was down 200 jobs last month. Arkansas’s government did not change and Tennessee added 100 government jobs between August and September. Alabama’s government added 300 jobs last month.

Mississippi’s unemployment rate remained steady at 4.8 percent. That is a near record low for the state, but is still the fourth highest in the nation. Only Louisiana, at 5 percent, has a higher rate in the Southeast.


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