Analysis: Bryant may not get jobless rate blame

Is Mississippi’s high unemployment rate a threat to Gov. Phil Bryant’s popularity?

It’s hard to tell, but the governor might think so.

Mississippi is saddled with the nation’s third-highest jobless rate, at 9 percent in June. While the nation’s unemployment rate has slowly improved, the jobless rate in the Magnolia State has remained stuck at 9 percent or above in every month except one since the Republican took office in January 2012.

The unemployment rate may actually be the most discouraging indicator when it comes to the state’s economy. A separate measure of payrolls has been improving, even if it remains well below pre-recession levels. The overall state economy, as measured by gross domestic product, had the best year since the recession in 2012. And Mississippi tax collections also continue to rise.