Neshoba County's unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent in November, the lowest reported since December 2008, when it was 5.9 percent.

Mississippi's unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in November, the lowest level since February 2009.

Statewide, more people found work while fewer people were looking, cutting the pool of unemployed people to about 113,000. That's down 7,000 from October and well below November 2011's level of 143,000.

Mississippi had a 9 percent jobless rate in October and a 10.6 percent rate in November 2011.

The October jobless rate in Neshoba County was at 6.8 percent. In comparison, the county's November 2011 rate was at 7.9 percent.

The unemployment rate is calculated by a survey that asks how many people are looking for a job. A second survey each month asks employers how many people are on their payrolls, a measure many economists use as their top labor market indicator.

That survey found Mississippi payrolls rose to 1.09 million in November, up about 4,000 jobs from October when adjusted to cancel out seasonal differences. It was the third straight month that payrolls have risen, and it's the first time in 2012 that Mississippi has shown payroll job growth compared to the previous year, nosing ahead of November 2011's total by less than 1,000 jobs.

Mississippi is still 68,000 jobs below its pre-recession high.

Neshoba County saw its labor force drop from 13,030 to 12,990 in November.

A drop in labor force can be attributed to such things as people exhausting their unemployment benefits and no longer looking for a job, those unemployed who have reached the age where they qualify for Social Security benefits and students leaving jobs to return to school or college, officials have said.

Neshoba County's November jobless rate was the eighth lowest of the state's 82 counties, with only Rankin, DeSoto, Madison, Lamar, Jones, Scott and Lafayette posting lower rates.

The county had 12,210 people employed in November and 780 unemployed, the report said.

Statistics from the state Department of Employment Security, which date back to January 1970, show the county's highest unemployment rate for November came in 1985 when it reached 12.3 percent. The lowest rate for that period was in 1995 when it was 2.7 percent.

For calendar year 2012 to-date, Neshoba County's lowest jobless rate was seen in November. The highest was in January, when it was 8.2 percent.

November jobless rates in counties that adjoin Neshoba:

• Winston, 10.3 percent.

• Kemper, 11.2 percent.

• Lauderdale, 8.4percent.

• Newton, 6.5 percent.

• Scott, 5.8 percent.

• Leake, 8.6 percent.

• Attala, 8.6 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this article