Lincoln Co. absorbing some area job losses

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

Lincoln County remained unchanged in October unemploymentstatistics as area counties posted mixed results for the month,according to totals from the Mississippi Employment SecurityCommission.

Joblessness remained at 4.8 percent last month. However, due tosome rate increases elsewhere, Lincoln County still moved up to25th in county-by-county rankings.

The jump from No. 33 was indicative of the county’s ability toabsorb seasonal-related changes in the job market, said ChandlerRuss, executive vice-president of the Brookhaven-Lincoln CountyChamber of Commerce.

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“It’s a reflection of the retail and service sectors gearing upfor the holidays,” Russ said.

Statewide, unemployment was up to 5.1 percent, an increase fromSeptember’s 4.8 percent. Russ said Lincoln County was doing well incomparison to state numbers in several categories.

“Like sales tax, in unemployment, we’re doing a little bitbetter than the state as a whole,” Russ said.

Following Amite County, Lincoln County continued to have thesecond-lowest jobless rate in the area in October.

Most other southwest Mississippi counties saw small to moderatefluctuations in their jobless rates.

Amite County saw a small decline of two-tenths of a point to 3.8percent. It held the lowest rate in the area and ranked 11th in thestate.

Both Copiah and Franklin counties experienced drops of one-tenthof a point last month. Copiah’s rate was down to 6.7 percent andFranklin’s stood at 5.6 percent.

Jefferson County saw a 5.8 percent drop to 12.2 percent inOctober. That still kept it the highest in the area andsecond-highest in the state behind Holmes County’s 14.7percent.

Among rate risers last month were Walthall, Lawrence and Pikecounties.

Walthall saw the biggest jump, eight-tenths of a point, to 8.6percent. Lawrence County’s rate was up five-tenths to 9.6 percentand Pike’s climbed four-tenths to 5.7 percent.

MESC officials attributed the statewide rate increase to severalplant closings and layoffs. Due to confidentiality, the agency notrelease names of plants that close or have layoffs.

State officials expected rates for the last two months of theyear to be mixed as agriculture-related employment decreases andretail-trade jobs increase for the holidays.

Overall, 28 counties were below the state 5.1 percent averageand 10 were below the national average of 3.6 percent. LafayetteCounty had the lowest October jobless rate at 1.6 percent.