Jobless rate down here

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 4, 2002

Lincoln Countians had reason to be thankful in November asunemployment dipped almost half a point for the month, according tothe latest statistics from the Mississippi Employment SecurityCommission (MESC).

The November total placed Lincoln County’s rate at 4.9 percent,a drop of four-tenths of a point from October’s 5.3 percent.

“It looks like it was a good month for us,” said Chandler Russ,executive vice-president of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamberof Commerce.

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Lincoln County continued to have the second-lowest rate in thearea behind Amite County’s 3.8 percent, with represented asix-tenths of a point drop for that county. In statewide countyrankings, Lincoln County placed 29th.

Russ said the number of unemployed fell from 780 in October to720 in November while the number of employed rose from 13,750 to13,850.

“The majority of that was in the retail and services sector withbusinesses gearing up for the Christmas holidays,” Russ said.

Russ said there was also a small increase in the manufacturingemployment sector. Overall, he was pleased with the numbers.

“It was a good, strong showing,” he said. “Our local retailerswere gearing up and adding jobs.”

Elsewhere, most area counties saw jobless rate decreases inNovember.

Pike County posted the largest decline with a 1.7 percentagepoint drop. Its November rate was 5.2 percent and third-lowest inthe area.

Franklin County also saw a drop of more than one point. Its ratewas down 1.1 percentage points to 7.1 percent.

Copiah and Lawrence counties each had declines of two-tenths ofa point. Lawrence County’s rate inched down to 6.8 percent whileCopiah’s stood at 5.9 percent.

Walthall County and Jefferson County were the only two toexperience increases.

Walthall’s rate was up nine-tenths to 5.8 percent. The JeffersonCounty rate climbed two-tenths to 14.4 percent, which was highestin the area and third-highest in the state.

At 5.2 percent, the statewide rate saw a minimal decline from5.3 percent in October. The decrease was attributed to the additionof 3,100 jobs in the retail trade sector.

“Those jobs were added for the holiday buying season whichappears to be stronger in Mississippi than on a national level,”said Curt Thompson, MESC executive director.

The national unemployment rate for November was 5.3 percent.

Thompson expected mixed unemployment news in December, totalsfor which are expected to be released later this month.Agricultural areas could have slightly higher jobless rates whileurban area could benefit from the continued addition of jobs forthe holiday shopping season.