Mississippi’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9 percent in June, as fewer people looked for work.

A separate survey showed employer payrolls continue to grow in the state.

The figures were released Thursday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mississippi’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in May and 9.2 percent in June 2012. An 8,000-person decrease in the labor force was the main factor for the June drop in Mississippi’s jobless rate.

The state retained the third-highest jobless rate nationwide, behind Nevada at 9.6 percent and Illinois at 9.2 percent. North Dakota retained the lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent.

The national unemployment rate held steady from May to June at 7.6 percent, but was below the 8.2 percent rate of June 2012.

The state had 117,500 unemployed people in June, down from 119,500 in May, and 123,000 in June 2012.

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