MS Unemployment Down, But…

(DeSoto County, MS) Keontay Walls pounded the pavement looking for work, five months before she finally landed a good retail job.

“It’s a struggle out here for us trying to find one, but I mean you get out here and you look for one and do the best you can.”

And Mississippi’s latest unemployment figures for June show some improvement.

Two-thousand more people in Mississippi found work last month, just like Walls.

But there’s a dirty little secret in those numbers.

Nine percent unemployment for June is the best number to come out of Mississippi since 2009.

But a closer look at the numbers reveals a disturbing trend.

More people have given up looking for work, and aren’t getting counted.

In fact, the latest figures, which account for those people, show Mississippi’s jobless rate closer to 15.5 percent.

Walls knows plenty who’ve given up.

”I know a few, but I encourage them to keep looking. I mean, you can’t stop. You gotta make a living somehow.”

She says you have to be more aggressive to find work these days.

”Goin’ up there, putting my name down, I’m Keontay Walls, I’m looking for a job, just keep it in their face.”

Where are the jobs these days?

Leisure and hospitality lead the way, followed by trades, transportation and utilities. Construction and manufacturing also added jobs in June.

She says persistence pays off, but for others it’s not that easy.

Even with the improvement, Mississippi retains the third highest jobless rate in the country.