Clarion-Ledger – Unemployment: Big hurdle remains

Mississippi’s unemployment rate dropped slightly last month – from 11.4 percent to 11 percent – but it still remains among the highest in the nation. Mississippi ranked sixth.

With one of the highest unemployment rates, Mississippi has among the lowest unemployment benefits. The national average is $309 a week; Mississippi’s benefit is $235.

And in a state with high unemployment and low benefits, Mississippi’s two senators voted against extending those meager benefits. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both Republicans, voted against a measure that reauthorized extended benefits through November for those who have been out of work for six months or more.

The Senate approved the unemployment benefit extension Tuesday along a strict party-line vote. That vote reflects the raw partisan atmosphere that permeates Congress – and senators from a state with such severe jobless issues going along with it shows how damaging partisanship can be.