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Jobless rate sees small March jump

Lincoln County’s unemployment rate is back up 0.1 percent fromFebruary’s 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent for March, again below thestate average by a tenth of a point, according to the latestfigures from Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

“Lincoln County’s employment scene seems to be remaining strongand reflecting a positive trend in our economy,” saidBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive DirectorCliff Brumfield. “Our rate has stayed pretty much in line, and issomewhat lower than the state average and as compared toneighboring communities. This really bodes well for the workingcitizens.”

The state posted an average unemployment rate of 6.8 percent,which is up one-tenth of a point from last month, and several otherarea counties recorded unemployment increases.

Wayne Gasson, MDES chief of Labor Market Information, said in arelease that the state’s figures should stay fairly steady throughthe spring.

“April usually brings an increase in outdoors economicendeavors, which should result in improved labor force conditions,”Gasson said.

Brumfield said the influx of businesses that are expected tocome with the Linbrook Business Park should help not only LincolnCounty, but surrounding counties as well.

“With new businesses being sought for the Linbrook BusinessPark, future and existing employers in the area are reaching beyondour usual community boundaries and pulling from as far away as35-40 miles,” he said. “Gains in Lincoln County have a positiveimpact on neighboring communities as well. We hope growth of thebusiness park will be reflected in the local economy, and also inarea unemployment figures as well as local sales taxcollections.”

Jefferson County currently has the highest unemployment rate inthe state at 13.7 percent, although it continues to steadilydecline, being down from 14.3 in February.

Meanwhile, Lincoln County came in at 26th in the state.

The lowest rates in the state were DeSoto’s 3.5 percent,Rankin’s 4.6, and Lamar’s 4.8.

Copiah County is back up to 8.6 percent from last month’s 8.2.Pike remained steady at 7.1 percent, the same as February’spercentage.

Franklin County rose to 7.4 percent from 7.2 percent forFebruary, and Lawrence saw a rise from 7.7 percent for February toMarch’s 8.1. Walthall County climbed to 6.9 percent from lastmonth’s 6.6 percent.

Amite County recorded a gain as well, up to 8.6 from lastmonth’s 8.3.