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Jobless rate stays low here

Lincoln County unemployment posted a slight decrease in April,but there were no major shifts in the various job sectors,according to Mississippi Employment Security Commission totals forthe month.

The county’s unemployment rate dipped two-tenths of point to 6.2percent last month. That placed the county 28th in state rankingsand still second-lowest in the area behind Amite County’s 4.9percent.

Chandler Russ, executive vice-president of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said there wereslight increases in the manufacturing and agricultural areas.Overall, there were 30 fewer people unemployed in April than inMarch.

The civil labor force also posted a slight decrease in thenumber of people either working or actively seeking work.

“That also helped decrease the unemployment percentage,” Russsaid.

Russ described the April rate as a good, healthy total. He saidthere was a decrease during the month, and the average unemploymentrate across southwest Mississippi was around 7.2 percent.

“We’re below the regional average and we also have a labor forcetotal that is attractive to business and industry,” Russ said.

All area counties last month saw jobless rates declines,although a majority were be less than half a point.

Like Lincoln, Copiah County also had a two-tenths of a pointdrop. Its April rate was 7.5 percent.

Other small rate decliners were Franklin, Lawrence and Walthallcounties. Franklin’s rate was down one-tenth to 9.5 percent;Lawrence’s dipped three-tenths to 7.1 percent; and Walthall’s fellfour-tenths to 6.8 percent.

With its six-tenths of point fall, Amite County maintained thelowest rate in the area at 4.9 percent. Pike County also had asix-tenths drop to stand at 6.9 percent for the month.

Seeing the biggest decline from March to April was JeffersonCounty, with a 1.2 percentage point drop to 12.8 percent. That washighest in the area and ninth-highest statewide.

On the state level, Mississippi’s rate for the month was 6.4percent. That represented a half a point drop and was attributed toagricultural workers back on the job after winter layoffs.

“April is traditionally a month when the unemployment rate islow,” said MESC Executive Director Curt Thompson. “Weatherconditions improve so that outdoor work can be performed and thereis an optimism in the spring when workers who were out of the laborforce begin looking for employment again.”

Lafayette County posted the lowest rate in April at 2.4 percent.Issaquena has the highest at 18.6 percent.

Thompson expected May unemployment rates to rise as studentsenter the labor force looking for work.