Jobless rate resumes its downward trend in Feb.

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Following a month of across-the-board increases, Lincoln Countyand the rest of the state saw their jobless rate decline inFebruary, according to totals from the Mississippi Department ofEmployment Security.

At 6.8 percent, Lincoln County’s February rate was down 1.2 fromJanuary and the lowest in southwest Mississippi. The county placed29th in statewide rankings.

Cliff Brumfield, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerceexecutive vice president, said as cyclical economic factorscontributed to the increase in January they helped lower the ratein February. State officials cited job gains in manufacturing andsome other non-farm employment areas.

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“We’re proud to see a drop in unemployment and hope for evenbetter numbers next month,” Brumfield said.

Lincoln County eclipsed Amite County for the lowest area total.That county’s rate was down 0.6 to 6.9 percent.

While all were down, other area counties had jobless of 7percent or higher. Area rates for February were:

* Pike County – down 1.1 to 8.1 percent.

* Lawrence County – down 1.0 to 7.2 percent.

* Copiah County – down 0.5 to 7.9 percent.

* Franklin County – down 0.9 to 8.6 percent.

* Walthall County – down .0.9 to 7.8 percent.

* Jefferson County – down 1.0 to 14.5 percent.

* Adams County – down 0.9 to 8.3 percent.

Jefferson County tied with Sharkey County for the third-highestrate in the state. They were among 17 counties with double-digitunemployment for the second month of 2005.

The state rate for February was 6.9 percent, which was downnine-tenths from January. MDES officials said 31 counties, led byRankin County at 4.2 percent, had rates lower than the stateaverage.