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April jobless rates down

Lincoln County’s unemployment rate fell 0.4 percent in April to6.3 percent, slightly below the state average 6.4 percent by atenth of a point, according to the Mississippi Department ofEmployment Security in the latest figures.

The state posted an average unemployment rate of 6.4 percent,and several other area counties recorded unemploymentdecreases.

“These statistics are by place of residence,” said David Hollandof the Lincoln County Win Jobs Center. “All of these people allreside in Lincoln County, but they may work somewhere else andcommute. So you can’t always pinpoint specific causes fordifferences in the percentages month to month.”

Wayne Gasson, chief of Labor Market Information, said in arelease that summer vacation may affect numbers over the next fewmonths.

“Conditions are not likely to change dramatically in May, butthe labor force should begin to grow as students start their annualsearches for summertime employment,” said Gasson.

Holland said it’s always encouraging to be below the state’sunemployment average.

“We’re happy with our unemployment rate,” he said. “We’re belowthe state average, and that’s always a good thing.”

Jefferson County, at 12.6 percent, no longer has the highestunemployment rate in the state, being passed by Noxubee County’s13.8 percent and Clay County’s 18.6 percent in last place.Jefferson’s rate was 13.7 for March.

Meanwhile, Lincoln County came in 26th in the state. DeSotocounty leads the state, with the low rate of 4.2 percent.

Most of the surrounding counties showed an April decrease inunemployment numbers.

Copiah County recorded a 0.9 percent decrease, going fromMarch’s total of 8.6 percent down to 7.7. Pike dropped from 7.1percent to 6.6 percent.

Franklin County fell 0.5 percent from last month’s 7.4 percentto 6.9 percent for April, and Lawrence fell from 8.1 percent to 7.7for April. Amite County also dropped 0.5 percent, from 6.5 percentto 6 percent.

Walthall County recorded the only gain in the area, rising from6.9 for March to 7.4 for April.

Holland said that in actuality, the area’s unemployment ratesare fairly steady, as the percentages are estimates based oncertain criteria.

“One thing that’s important here is that these are estimatesonly, and based on polls of certain numbers of households,unemployment claims filed and seasonal adjustments at the statelevel,” he said.

The numbers are based on the number of employed and unemployedworkers living in a county, Holland said, regardless of what countythey work in. In the past months, Lincoln County’s numbers haveshifted slightly from roughly 14,840 in March to 14,760 inApril.

“There are actually 80 less people in the work force this monthby our numbers,” Holland said. “Fewer people are unemployed, andthat could also have to do with new hires in other counties.”