Unemployment rate low in the Pine Belt

Unemployment rate low in the Pine Belt

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - New data reveals good news for the state of Mississippi and even better news for the greater Pine Belt area.

The unemployment rate for our state is at a nearly historic low.

“Companies are hiring right now. So, we expect the employment level to continue to rise and the unemployment level to stay steady,” said Chad Newell, president of the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg.

The unemployment rate is nearing a historic low as the number of jobs rise to a historic high, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. State data revealed the unemployment rate in April 2019 was 4.9%.

The rate has now been below 5% for 19 months consecutively, according to MDES. Even better numbers are coming from the greater Pine Belt Area, according to Newell.

“Ours is actually 4.2%," Newell said. "We’ve led the state in job growth over the past five years with a 12% increase in our employment base. Our team here at the ADP has tracked 5,700 new jobs over that five-year period with a $1.8 billion capital investment. So, the economy is humming here in the Burg.”

“So, I think it speaks to the conservative policies that we’ve worked on under Lt. Governor Reeves’ direction and Governor Bryant’s direction during the last eight years,” Senator Joey Fillingane said.

Fillingane believes its a testament to the thriving economy.

“The economy is really red hot in the Pine Belt right now," Fillingane said. "If you look at the unemployment rates in the counties that WDAM covers, by in large they are down in the threes not even just the fours. Lamar County, I think, is 3.2%. When it’s that low, people that don’t even want to work are working right now. It’s amazing.”

Newell said when peeling back the informational layers, jobs are being created in areas of manufacturing, healthcare and education leading to these numbers.

“The strength of our economy is in in the diversity of our economy," Newell said. "So jobs are being created in multiple sectors and that just does well for Hattiesburg.”

Since April 2018, the number of jobs in Mississippi increased by more than 11,000, according to MDES.

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