JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s job market improved modestly in September, as payrolls ticked up and unemployment ticked down.

The jobless rate fell to 5.2 percent in September from 5.3 percent in August. Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent a year ago.

Fewer people reported having jobs, but even more quit the labor force, decreasing jobless Mississippians to 66,000 from 68,000.

Mississippi’s jobless rate tied for fourth-highest among states, with Alaska worst at 7.2 percent. The U.S. rate fell to 4.2 percent in September from August’s 4.4 percent.

The separate payroll survey, economists’ top labor market indicator, rose slightly to a post-recession high of 1.15 million. That’s 8,000 jobs above last year, but almost 1 percent below the pre-recession peak.

The U.S. Labor Department released figures Friday, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.