JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's unemployment rate fell by a half percentage point to 8.5 percent in July, with a drop in the state's labor force driving a sharp dip.
A separate survey showed state employer payrolls fell slightly.
Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes — were released Monday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It's the lowest state jobless rate since February 2009. Mississippi's unemployment rate was 9 percent in June and 9.3 percent in July 2012.
The labor force fell by 10,000 people, dropping below 1.3 million for the first time since 2010.
Mississippi had 110,700 unemployed people in July, down from 117,800 in June, and 123,000 in July 2012.
State nonfarm payrolls fell by 3,000 people from June, but remained 24,000 above year-ago levels.