Despite reaching an alarming high of 16.3% in April, the unemployment rate in Mississippi fell to 8.7% in June. In June alone, employees saw 27,000 jobs added to the MS job market. While these numbers are promising, it is important to keep two things in mind: the jobs being added may be coming from different industries, requiring different skill sets and competition for them will be greater.
Thousands of workers are eager to return with a limited number of positions available, so let’s take a deeper look at the impact of COVID-19 on the Mississippi job market and discover how you can adapt to better compete.
How did COVID-19 impact the MS job market?
In February, before the pandemic hit, Mississippi’s unemployment rate was at a low of 5.1%. In just one month, this number more than tripled as millions of employees were laid off and entire industries shut down. As things are slowly starting to return to normal, it’s becoming clear that not all regions are recovering equally.
For example, the counties of Smith, Rankin, and Scott are performing the best with unemployment rates below 7%. On the other hand, Jefferson and Holmes seemed to have been hit the worst with rates reaching 20% and above. Counties with higher populations, including Harrison, Hinds, and Jackson, seem to be recovering better but their unemployment rate of 10% is still two-times that of the state prior to the shut-down.
Looking at the effected industries, here again, the hospitality and leisure industry took the largest hit. As gatherings restrictions went into place, restaurants, recreational activities, hotels, lodging, and any travel-related businesses were shut-down. In April alone, our state economy saw a loss of 49,000 jobs in this sector. This represents a 35.6% loss from this time last year. With 11.6% of the workforce employed by this industry, this took a toll on the state’s economy. Those working in the automotive industry didn’t fare much better since it’s the 7th largest in the country.
What you can do to improve your chances
While an increase in job opportunities is good news for anyone looking to improve their current position, that doesn’t give you the full picture. Many Mississippians are competing for a growing yet still limited number of positions. However, there’s no reason why you can’t return to the job market with a greater chance of finding a well-paying, rewarding, and enjoyable position. Here are some actions you can take now to improve your chances of succeeding in the post-COVID-19 job market:
- Target growing industries - While nearly no part of the economy was spared over the past few months, that doesn’t mean each industry was impacted the same. Some sectors are recovering significantly quicker than others. To increase your chances of landing a job, target those industries active in your local market.
- Improve your qualifications - A more competitive job market means you’ll need to do more to stand out. While there are many things you can do to prepare for an interview and make a good impression, there’s nothing more effective than improving your qualifications. Many of the growing sectors in Mississippi are in need of jobs that require an associate or bachelor’s degree. Fortunately, you might be closer to graduation than you think when working with the C2C Program.
What industries are currently growing
Healthcare - Healthcare is a growing sector that has been through a lot over the past few months, but the demand for skilled labor is continuing to increase. Whether you have an interest in becoming a pharmacy technician, a nurse, or a physical therapist assistant, the opportunities are there. From April to June alone, the state’s healthcare industry hired 7,000 new workers. With pharmacy technicians earning an average salary of $30,718 and PT assistants earning $48,369, there’s no shortage of competitive salaries in this market for those with an associate or bachelor’s degree.
Construction - When the shutdowns started, the construction industry saw a sudden drop in demand. As restrictions have gradually eased, new commercial and residential projects are getting started. The demand for skilled laborers has increased. While the construction industry has some entry-level positions that don’t require more than a high school diploma, there’s a significant pay raise for skilled positions that require a college degree. For example, with an associate degree, you can work as an assistant project manager or engineering assistant. A bachelor’s degree qualifies you for a construction management or engineering supervisor position.
Information Technology - For years, the IT sector has seen a boom in growth as more companies across all industries embrace the advantages of technology and the internet. When public life was greatly reduced in response to the virus, many companies focused their efforts on online sales and marketing. After all, US online sales jumped a massive 76% in June alone. So, whether you want to become a web designer and earn an average salary of $56,688, a data analyst earning roughly $50,988, or fill any other IT role, this sector holds several exciting and well-paying careers in the post-COVID-19 job market.
Return to college to gain a competitive edge
The recent pandemic has given everyone an opportunity to look at their life through a new perspective. If you’ve decided to work towards a better future with a better job and brighter horizons, returning to college is your first step. Not only have college graduates been shown to earn $17,500 more per year on average than their high school-graduate counterparts, but a college diploma also gives you a competitive edge when returning to the post-COVID-19 job market.
C2C can help give you a boost
The C2C Program helps Mississippi adults return to college to complete their degrees. Eligible participants receive personalized and one-on-one support from a dedicated C2C Coach from the day you apply through enrollment all the way until graduation. With the help of a C2C Coach, you’ll find the quickest path towards graduation given your past credits or work experience. The C2C Grant will even help cover some of the financial burdens associated with a college education.
Feel free to reach out to C2C today to see just how close you are to earning a degree already.