Mississippi job market improves slightly in April

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in April, as more people found jobs despite a falling labor force. A separate survey showed employers added 5,000 people to their payrolls in April, reversing four months of declines.

Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.

Mississippi's unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in March and 8.8 percent in April 2013.

Though April's performance was better than the anemic figures posted earlier this year, Mississippi retains the sixth-highest unemployment rate among the states.

The national unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent in April from 6.7 percent in March. The rate in April 2013 was 7.5 percent.

The Labor Department said 95,400 Mississippians were unemployed in April, down about 1,000 from March and down from 114,500 in April 2013.

Mississippi's nonfarm payrolls rose by almost 5,000 to 1.12 million after falling four months in a row. April's strong growth means payrolls were 10,000 higher than in April 2013. But the state still has 3.7 percent fewer workers than the all-time high recorded in February 2008.

Employment rose in Mississippi in sectors including trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; construction and manufacturing. Employment was flat in education and health services, financial activities and government.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 13.9 percent in Mississippi from April 2013 through March 2014, the most recent figures available. That number includes people who are looking for work only sporadically, have given up looking or are working part time because they can't find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 13.4 percent during the same time.

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Online: State employment report: http://1.usa.gov/104hKGL

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Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy

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