Preliminary unemployment numbers by county
County May '19May '18
Chickasaw 5.3% 5.1%
Choctaw 4.7% 4.9%
Clay 6.5% 6.1%
Lowndes 4.9% 4.9%
Monroe 5.2% 5.0%
Noxubee 6.7% 6.8%
Oktibbeha 5.6% 5.0%
Webster 5.5% 5.3%
Winston  5.4% 5.5%

Counties across the Golden Triangle region saw ups and downs for unemployment in May, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

While unemployment rose in places like Clay and Oktibbeha counties, it fell in others like Choctaw and Noxubee. May’s numbers reported the Golden Triangle labor force at 75,600 with 71,460 employed and 4,140 out of work.

The Golden Triangle’s unemployment rate for May came in at 5.5%, which is up from the same time last year when the unemployment rate was at 5.2%.

From the previous year, Oktibbeha County saw the biggest jump in unemployment for the region, with 5.6% in May compared to 5% during the same month in 2018. The city of Starkville also saw unemployment rise over the previous year from 4.4% in May 2018 to 4.6% last month.

May broke with the trend and represented the first time over the last six years that Starkville’s unemployment rose instead of fell. It is also a decline from April’s revised 3.9% unemployment in Starkville. The city of Starkville’s labor force was reported to be 12,480 with 11,900 employed.

Oktibbeha County — which tied for 50th among the state’s 82 counties for unemployment — reported its preliminary labor force numbers at 23,190 with 21,890 listed as employed.

Clay County fared no better than its neighbor, with unemployment rising nearly half a percentage point from last May to 6.5% in 2019. The county’s labor force was reported to be an even 7,900. Of those working or looking for work, 7,380 were reported employed.

Lowndes County saw unemployment stay flat for the year at 4.9% for May, while the city of Columbus reported a slight decline in unemployment to 5.2% from 5.3% the previous year. The improvement continues a trend for Columbus, which has reported an improved employment rate each of the last six years.

Most counties in the region were in the vicinity of the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which came in at 5%, representing an increase of two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the 4.8% unemployment reported for Mississippi in May 2018.

Mississippi also continued to lag the national unemployment rate of 3.4%.

Rankin County once again finished with the lowest unemployment rate among Mississippi counties at 3.6%, while only three other counties (Lamar, Lee and Union) reported unemployment below 4%.

Two counties in Mississippi reported unemployment higher than 10% — Issaquena County (10.7%) and Jefferson County (13%).

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