Most counties see unemployment dip

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 8, 2004

September produced good unemployment numbers as Lincoln County’srate dropped almost one full percentage point from August,according to totals from the Mississippi Department of EmploymentSecurity.

Lincoln County’s September rate was 4.8 percent. That was down0.8 from August’s 5.6 percent.

“In southwest Mississippi, we’ve got the lowest rate of everyoneexpect for Amite County,” said David Holland, manager of theBrookhaven MDES office. “Comparatively speaking, it shows us ingood shape.”

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In county-by-county rankings, the September rate left LincolnCounty with the 21st-lowest rate. The state average for the monthwas 5.6 percent, down from 5.9 percent in August, and the nationalaverage was 5.1 percent.

“We’re better than the state and national averages,” Hollandsaid. “That’s good news.”

State MDES officials attributed the statewide decline to themajority of students returning to school. Holland indicated thatwas also a factor in the lower local rate.

“That takes a lot of people out of the job market,” Hollandsaid.

Among labor force estimates, Lincoln County’s civilian laborforce, number of employed and number of unemployed were all down inSeptember from August.

The county’s September labor force was 13,750. Of those, thenumber listed as employed was 13,090 and 660 were classified asunemployed.

In August, the labor force totaled 13,930, with 13,150 employedand 780 unemployed.

Most other southwest Mississippi counties also experiencedhealthy jobless rate declines in September.

Lawrence and Franklin, the other two counties in the MDESBrookhaven office’s coverage area, posted similar rate declines.Lawrence’s rate was down 1.1 point to 5.9 percent, and Franklin’sstood at 7.7 percent, a drop of 1 point.

Amite County posted the lowest total, at 3.8 percent, down 0.9from August. That county ranked 11th statewide.

After Lincoln, Pike County followed with a rate of 5.5 percent.That total was down 0.8 from August’s 6.3 percent.

With a decrease of 5.1 points, Jefferson County had the largestdrop in the area t 15.4 percent. However, that remained the highesttotal in the state.

Walthall County joblessness remained steady over the two-monthperiod at 7.6 percent.

Copiah County was the only area county to see an increase. Itstotal climbed half a point to 7.4 percent in September.

Led by Lamar County’s 2.7 percent, 28 counties had jobless ratesat or below the state average. Fourteen Mississippi countiesmaintained double-digit jobless rates in September.