Mississippi payrolls rose to 1.12 million in February, up from January and from February 2012. Construction was the economic sector showing the biggest percentage job gain in February. Also rising were manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health care, leisure and hospitality and government. Falling were information and trade, transportation and utilities. Financial service jobs were flat.

The broadest measure of those who are unemployed averaged 15.1 percent in Mississippi during 2012, the most recent figures available. That number includes people who are looking for work only sporadically, have given up looking or are working part time because they can't find a full-time job.

Nationwide, that broad measure averaged 14.7 percent during the same time.

Rankin County's 6.2 percent remained the lowest jobless rate. Tunica County maintained the highest unemployment rate at 20.1 percent. Of the state's 82 counties, 54 had jobless rates higher than a year ago, and 59 had rates higher than the state average.

County-level rates aren't adjusted to cancel out predictable seasonal changes.

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