Leflore County’s jobless rate fell to 11.1% last month, according to figures released Tuesday by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Although the August figure  was better than the revised jobless rate of 13.8% in July, it was still significantly higher than a year ago, when the rate was 7.7%.

Traditionally the jobless rate falls in August as school resumes and farmers gear up for harvesting. Even though that seasonal pattern held, the number of unemployed continues to be elevated as a result of the lingering economic effects of the pandemic. There were 310 more people without jobs last month in Leflore County than in August 2019.

Statewide, the jobless rate last month was 7.9%, down from the revised July rate of 10.1% but higher than the August 2019 rate of 5.6%

The number of Mississippians without jobs was 26,200 higher than in August 2019. That was, though, a marked improvement over July, when the difference between years was 62,000.

The unemployment picture remains in sharp contrast to sales tax figures, which showed a jump of 8.6% in August compared to a year ago. Sales tax figures are considered a good barometer of retail activity.

The national jobless rate in August was 8.5%.

Sixty-two of Mississippi’s 82 counties had unemployment rates below 10% last month, 46 more than in July.

Rankin County had the state’s lowest rate at 4.7%, while Jefferson County had the highest at 20.8%.

Leflore County had the 68th best unemployment rate, one spot better than the month before.

The August rates and rankings for other nearby counties were:

• Grenada, 7.1%, 19th (tie).

• Carroll, 8.1%, 34th (tie).

• Tallahatchie, 8.1%, 34th (tie).

• Montgomery, 8.2%, 36th (tie).

• Sunflower, 11.8%, 73rd.

• Humphreys, 15.5%, 78th.

• Holmes, 15.8%, 81st.

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