Unemployment rate posts lower May total

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lincoln County’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percent in May fromApril’s 6.3 percent to 6 percent, exactly paralleling the stateaverage, according to the Mississippi Department of EmploymentSecurity in the latest statistics.

The state is down from 6.4 percent unemployment figures postedin April, and several other area counties also recordedunemployment decreases.

Officials predicted last month that summer vacation may affectnumbers over the next few months, but the numbers have not yet beenaffected by that migration.

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“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 Wayne Gasson, chief ofLabor Market Information in a release last month.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice-president Cliff Brumfieldsaid while this month’s percentage has decreased, there should besome fluctuation in June’s statistics.

“We’re seeing the expected influx of people in the work force asschool has just let out,” he said. “We also have a large number ofcollege-age people in the local economy as well.”

Gasson said the release of students into the workplace couldhave a dramatic impact for the summer.

“Conditions are likely to change dramatically in June as theannual influx of students into the summertime labor force putsadditional pressure on the economy,” he said.

Brumfield said Lincoln County’s location in close proximity toSouthwest Mississippi Community College and Copiah-LincolnCommunity College definitely makes it susceptible to summertimefluctuation.

“The fact is that we are located between two well-establishedcommunity colleges and students are looking for work now that theyare out of class,” he said. “In addition, we have graduates leavingthe school systems seeking permanent employment, many of which didso for the first time in June.”

Jefferson County has gone up a percentage point since April,sitting at 13.6 percent. It is surpassed only by Clay County forthe highest rate in the state, as Clay has a 17.9 percent rateafter a major plant closure.

Lincoln County ranks 27th in the state, while Rankin, Lafayette,Jones, and Lamar Counties have passed DeSoto County as having thelowest unemployment rates in Mississippi.

With the exception of Jefferson County, all of the surroundingcounties showed a decrease in unemployment numbers.

Copiah County recorded a 0.7 percent decrease, going fromApril’s total of 7.7 percent down to 7 percent. Pike dropped from6.6 percent to 5.8.

Franklin County fell 0.2 percent from last month’s 6.9 percentto 6.7 for May, and Lawrence decreased from 7.7 for April to 7percent. Amite County also dropped 0.5 percent, from 6 percent to5.5 percent.

Walthall County dropped from 7.4 for April to 6.4 percent forMay.