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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in November, the lowest level since February 2009.

More people found work even while fewer people were looking, cutting the pool of unemployed people to about 113,000. That’s down 7,000 from October and well below November 2011’s level of 143,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers Friday.

The state had a 9 percent jobless rate in October and a 10.6 percent rate in November 2011.

Weakness in summer job numbers led economists to warn Mississippi had slipped back into recession. But growth appears to have restarted in September.

A separate survey of employer payrolls shows nonfarm employees rose for the third straight month and was above the November 2011 total. That’s the first time in 2012 payrolls have risen year over year.


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