Counties see increases in jobless rates

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 29, 2007

December’s area jobless numbers were up slightly, based onstatistics from the Mississippi Department of EmploymentSecurity.

“It’s basically that a lot of things are seasonal, and slowdownsare normal at this time of year,” said Ora Franklin, supervisor atthe Lincoln County WIN Jobs Center, about area rate increases.”Come March again, the sun comes out and things bloom and it picksup.”

Amite County was the only area county with a drop inunemployment, going from 6.8 percent to 6.5 percent, while LincolnCounty reflected a .3 percent increase from 6.4 to 6.7 percent.

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Surrounding counties are also inching up in the numbers, asCopiah County is up .9 at 8.5 percent and Jefferson County, at 14.7percent, is leading the state in unemployment.

Lawrence County is up from 7.9 to 8 percent; Franklin County isup to 8 percent from 7.7; Pike County is up to 7 percent from 6.7and Walthall inched up from 7.4 to 7.5 percent since November.

Franklin said there has not been an unusual increase in trafficto the WIN Center, where computer databases list job openings allover the state.

“When you come in the first thing you’ll see is our countylistings,” she said. “But you can check open job orders all overthe state.”

Chief of Labor Market Information Wayne Gasson said in an MDESstatement that the number of jobless in the state was up 1,200,while 7,900 more Mississippians are employed since November.

“We could see an increase in the unemployment rate in Januarydue partly from post-holiday layoffs in retail,” said Gasson.

The state’s current rate is up .1 percent from 6.9 percent inNovember to 7 percent in December, though those numbers are downfrom last December’s 8.3 percent.

Leisure and hospitality jobs took a hit, as well as governmentjobs, although non-farm employment is up 4,000 jobs.

Statewide, 30 counties reported rates less than the statewiderate, with DeSoto County having the lowest at 4 percent. JeffersonCounty was the highest with 14.7 percent. Eighteen counties hadrates in the double-digits.