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Holidays help lower jobless rate

Lincoln County unemployment rates dropped slightly from Octoberto November, according to statistics released by the MississippiDepartment of Employment Security.

Lincoln County’s 6.0 percent unemployment rate for October of2007 dropped to a 5.7 for November, leading most neighboringcounties and following the state’s trend as well. Mississippi’soverall unemployment rate dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.7percent.

“We’re proud to see our numbers, which we definitely expected toimprove as the holiday shopping season wore on,” saidBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield.

State officials said the holiday season always brings relief inunemployment numbers as people are working seasonal jobs.

“Seasonal increases in retail trade employment should lead toimproved conditions in December while those dependent onagricultural jobs might show increased unemployment,” said MDESLabor Market Information Bureau Director Wayne Gasson.

Brumfield said the holiday season not only sees improvement inthe unemployment rate, but also in retail sales and sales tax.

“It will be interesting to see our much anticipated sales taxfor that time,” Brumfield said. “Our retail sales did definitelyincrease during holiday shopping time.”

Some industries did not see an improvement, however.

“We had a rather flat season for automobile sales, which make upa very large component of our local retail base,” Brumfieldsaid.

Lincoln County led the all the neighboring counties except Pike,which dropped from 6.0 percent rate in October to a 5.7 percent inNovember as well.

“Garnering the best employment spot in our region of the stateindicates that Brookhaven and Lincoln County continued to lead thearea in well utilizing our workforce and local talents,” saidBrumfield.

Copiah County dropped from a 6.8 percent unemployment rate inOctober to 6.6 percent in November. Lawrence County experienced asimilar decrease from 6.8 percent to November’s 6.5 percent.

Amite County dropped from 6.3 percent in October to 5.9 percentin November, while Franklin County went down from 6.2 percent to5.8 percent.

Jefferson County, whose unemployment rate is the second-highestin the state, rose from 11.4 percent in October to 11.6 percent inNovember. Walthall County also experienced a rise in joblessness,going from 5.9 percent to 6.5 percent in the month between Octoberand November.