Marion County remains ahead of the unemployment curve in comparison to the majority of the state, with unemployment dropping to 8.0% in May.
The county’s unemployment was just 5.0% in March, 22nd lowest in the state, before more than doubling to 11.1% in April, which actually had Marion County rise to 14th lowest, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Now at 8.0%, Marion is tied for 16th lowest with Grenada out of Mississippi’s 82 counties.
Mississippi’s unemployment rate stands at 10.5%, 2.5% higher than Marion’s, but it is a vast improvement over the 15.6% the state saw in April. March’s unemployment was just 5.0% for the state.
In March, there was a labor force of 9,920 with 9,420 employed in Marion County. Those numbers fell in April here to 8,850 and 7,870, respectively, and now stand at 9,290 and 8,550. That’s an increase of 740 more people seeking employment and 680 more being employed.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are all rural, with Smith topping the list at 5.4%, followed by Choctaw at 6.5% and Tallahatchie at 7.0%. The highest unemployment rates in the state belong to Tunica (23.5%), Holmes (21.3%) and Jefferson (18.3%).
Unemployment rates for nearby counties are:
Lamar - 7.7%
Walthall - 9.4%
Pearl River - 9.5%
Forrest - 9.8%
Jeff Davis - 9.9%
Lawrence - 9.9%
The first coronavirus case was reported in Mississippi on March 11, and Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency March 14 as businesses and schools quickly began shutting down. Reeves' statewide shelter-in-place order that allowed only essential businesses to operate lasted from April 3 to April 27.
A "safer-at-home" order was put in place beginning April 27 and lasted until June 1 when “safe return,” which remains the current order, was enacted. Under the “safe return” order, Reeves allowed all businesses to open at 50% capacity.