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Jobless rate up in June

June jobless totals represented a “good news-bad news” situationfor Lincoln County, said Chandler Russ, chamber of commerceexecutive vice-president, about Mississippi Employment SecurityCommission totals.

“The good news is we had the lowest rate in the region,” Russsaid. “The bad news is there were more people unemployed than theprevious month.”

Lincoln County’s June rate was 6.5 percent, which was upeight-tenths of a point from May. However, with the exception ofAmite County, Lincoln County was the only one to see an increase ofless than two percentage points.

“The rates went up statewide and nationally,” Russ said.

June was the first month that Lincoln County had the lowest ratein the area. It was also in the Top 20 in county-by-countyrankings, placing 19th.

Russ said the increase was a “sign of the times.” Referring toMESC statistics on the month’s “bad news,” he said there were 950people listed as unemployed in June compared to 820 without jobs inMay.

“Some of that’s seasonal with school-age kids looking for workduring the summer,” Russ said.

The civilian labor force grew from 14,480 in May to 14,530 inJune. Russ said having more people available for work was a goodsign.

“You want to grow your labor force and your employed rate,” Russsaid.

Lincoln County matched the national unemployment rate of 6.5percent.

In other parts of southwest Mississippi, Pike County had thesecond-lowest rate at 7 percent.

Pike’s rate, like Copiah County’s, was up 2.2 points. CopiahCounty’s June rate was 8.7 percent.

To the west, Franklin County posted a two-point increase to 12.8percent. To the east, Lawrence County experienced a 2.5-point jumpto 9.6 percent.

Walthall County and Jefferson County each had three-pointincreases in June. Jefferson County’s rate was up to 23.2 percent,which was the highest in the state, while Walthall’s rate climbedto 9.6 percent.

Amite County was the only area county to see a decrease in Junejoblessness. Its rate was down 1.3 points to 9.6 percent.

Statewide, the June rate was 7.7 percent, an increase of 1.2points over May; 6.5 percent. MESC Executive Director Curt Thompsonsaid June typically has the highest employment rate for theyear.

“In June, all of the students and college graduates who rushedto get summer jobs were in the labor force and there was just notenough jobs for all of them,” Thompson said.

Led by Jefferson County, 38 of the state’s 82 counties haddouble-digit jobless rates. On the other end of the spectrum,Rankin County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.8 percent.