Unemployment holds virtually steady in July

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 2, 2004

Lincoln County’s unemployment picture remained virtuallyunchanged in July, and most area counties’ rates varied less thanhalf a point, according to Mississippi Department of EmploymentSecurity totals.

For July, Lincoln County’s rate inched up a slight one-tenth ofa point to 6.3 percent.

“Essentially, it was almost the same numbers wise,” saidChandler Russ, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerceexecutive vice-president.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lincoln County’s rate tied it with Pike County, whose rate wasdown four-tenths from June, for second-lowest in the area. AmiteCounty, which also had a four-tenths decline, had the lowest arearate at 5 percent.

Statewide, Lincoln County came in 29th among Mississippi’s 82counties. The state rate for July was 6 percent, down one-tenthfrom June but seven-tenths below the July 2003 rate.

The county’s annual average of 5.2 percent was below the state’saverage, Russ said. Also, Lincoln County’s July 2004 rate also wasbelow last July’s 6.4 percent total.

“We’re faring a little better,” Russ said.

Commenting on the employment numbers, Russ cited a 90-persondecrease in the number of people employed from June to July and a90-person increase in the county’s civilian labor force. At 890,the number of people unemployed remained unchanged from June toJuly.

“The overall bottom line is we’ve got to work with everybody tocreate new jobs and new investment,” Russ said.

Russ said more manufacturing and service sector jobs areneeded.

“We’re putting the pieces together for that,” said Russ,mentioning new industrial park activities and commercialdevelopment prospects.

In other parts of southwest Mississippi, Lawrence and Walthallcounties each experienced four-tenths of a point increases.Lawrence County’s rate climbed to 6.8 percent while Walthall’s wasup to 7.2 percent.

Franklin County saw the biggest decline, dropping 1.2 percentagepoints to 8.6 percent. Copiah County’s July rate remained unchangedfrom June at 7.8 percent.

Jefferson County had only a two-tenths of a point increase, butthe county’s 21 percent rate still meant that more than one if fivepeople there were without jobs. With the rate, Jefferson County hadthe highest total by more than four points over second-highestHolmes County’s 16.4 percent.

MDES officials said 26 counties posted jobless rate lower thanthe state average while 21 county had double-digit rates for July.Rankin County had the lowest rate at 2.5 percent.