Unemployment rate rises in July

The unemployment rate in Mississippi was

7.2 percent in July, up from 6.9 percent in June, according to the

state Department of Employment Security.

MDES officials said Friday the increase was mainly due to

seasonal layoffs of non-contract school employees.

"An already crowded labor market simply could not absorb all

those seeking work as the number of unemployed rose by 4,900 when

compared to June," said Wayne Gasson, MDES' chief of labor market


"If past trends hold true, August should bring some relief from

rising joblessness as student job seekers exit the labor force and

school employees return to work."

DeSoto and Rankin counties had the lowest unemployment rate of

4.4 percent followed by Lamar County at 4.8 percent.

Clay County, which has been hit with a number of plant closures,

had the highest rate at 19.5 percent followed by Jefferson County

at 18.7 percent and Noxubee at 13.8 percent.