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Unemployment numbers rise, but stats still show improvement

While unemployment numbers this year dropped to a historic low of 4.9 percent in Mississippi, numbers for July according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that last month the Magnolia state saw a slight uptick in unemployment–up to 5.2 percent.

This isn’t cause for alarm, however, according to Mississippi Department of Employment Security Executive Director Mark Henry.

“I think the main thing to keep in mind though,” said Henry. “There’s another number that’s considered to be more reliable because it’s the number of jobs employers currently have employed.”

It’s called the Number of Non-Farm jobs, or jobs that aren’t in the field of agriculture.

“The Number of Non-Farm jobs in Mississippi rose in July to the highest it had been since 2008, since the depression,” said Henry. “The number now is 5,800 more than what we had a year ago.”

Henry said the Number of Non-Farm jobs is actually based off calling employers and asking about how many people they have on staff. The rate of unemployment numbers are gathered in a more “subjective” way, according to Henry.

“It is gathered by calling individuals and asking them if they have a job, and if not, do they want one,” said Henry. “So it’s subjective because of how it can change. Last week that person wanted a job, they may not this week, and that could change again.”

Henry said full employment is now the challenge.

“That means everyone who wants a job–most of those have a job,” said Henry. “So the challenge for those in state government, like me, is to help find that employment. And that’s a good challenge to have.”

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