Unemployment rate drops in September

Published 6:00 am Monday, October 28, 2002

Lincoln County’s unemployment picture improved considerably inSeptember as the county’s jobless fell more than one point anddipped below the state average, according to Mississippi EmploymentSecurity Commission (MESC) totals.

At 5.6 percent, Lincoln County’s rate was down 1.3 percentagepoints from August and placed the county at number 32 in the state.Lincoln County once again had the second-lowest jobless total insouthwest Mississippi behind Amite County’s 4.3 percent, which wasdown half a percentage point.

Kenny Goza, Industrial Development Foundation chairman,applauded the new county total.

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“In the midst of a national economic slowdown, it’s verypositive for us in Brookhaven,” Goza said. “There’s a lot going forus that is creating jobs. We still need more.”

Lincoln County’s rate was one-tenth of a point below the state’s5.7 percent rate, which was down from August’s 6.3 percent.September was the third month in a row for a state rate drop.

With some new retail openings and industrial possibilities, Gozaexpected continued good unemployment news for the rest of theyear.

“We’ve got some potential opportunities for more employment,”Goza said. “I think the numbers will stay good the rest of the yearand we’ll finish strong.”

All but one area county had jobless rate drops of half a pointor more in September, according to MESC totals. Franklin County wasthe lone exception and it had a two-tenths of a point decline to7.9 percent.

Like Lincoln, Lawrence County had 1.3-point drop. That county’stotal was 5.8 percent and good enough for third-lowest in thearea.

Walthall County also had a drop of more than one point. Its ratewas down 1.7 points to 7.4 percent.

Pike County’s rate fell one point to 5.9 percent last month.Copiah County posted a nine-tenths of a point drop to 6.8percent.

Jefferson County had the largest decline, 3.6 percentage points,to 12 percent. That, however, continued to be the highest in thearea and fifth-highest in the state.

MESC officials attributed the state rate decline to job gains ineducation as a result of back to school employment, agriculture andconstruction. MESC Executive Director Curt Thompson said 75 of thestate’s 82 counties experience jobless rate declines or wereunchanged, but 10 counties posted double-digit rates.

Four counties, Tunica, Lamar, Oktibbeha and Rankin, tied for thelowest rate in the state at 3.1 percent. Clarke County was highestat 16.5 percent.

Overall, 34 counties tied or were lower than the state rate and29 were at or below the national average of 5.4 percent.