Mississippi’s unemployment rate is the lowest since 2001 — 5 percent in March.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security announced the new seasonally adjusted figures on Friday. The good news follows a similarly positive report last month.

The 5 percent rate, two-tenths of a percentage point lower than in February, marks the lowest level of unemployment in the state since January 2001.

“This is a testament to our skilled workforce and our commitment to creating an environment that encourages private investment,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a Facebook post. “We will continue to work with our business partners all around the world to ensure that every Mississippian has not only a job, but a career.”

The labor force — all citizens who have a job or are looking for one — increased in March by 4,800 to 1,302,700. That amount is the largest since October 2012.

The report from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security also showed:

The number of people working rose in March by 7,100 to 1,237,000.

The number of unemployed Mississippians fell in March by 2,300 to 65,700.

A separate survey of employers showed that the number of non-farm jobs declined slightly in March by 100 to 1,146,100.

We want to hear from you!

By listening more intently and understanding the people who make up Mississippi’s communities, our reporters put a human face on how policy affects everyday Mississippians. We’re listening closely to our readers to help us continue to align our work with the needs and priorities of people from all across Mississippi. Please take a few minutes to tell us what’s on your mind by clicking the button below.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.