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Seasonal factors cited in jobless rate jumps

Lincoln County’s unemployment rate rose significantly fromDecember to January while the state’s rate remained steady,according to the latest numbers from the Mississippi Department ofEmployment Security.

MDES reported that Lincoln County’s unemployment percentage rosefrom 6.3 percent in December to 6.8 percent in January. WIN JobsCenter Director David Holland said it’s not unusual for the rate torise in January.

“We’re up a little bit but that’s not unexpected because of theretail from the holidays and the seasonal jobs,” he said. “Also,while there is more construction than usual, there have been delaysin the construction projects because of winter weather.”

MDES Labor Market Information Director Wayne Gasson saidstatewide, rates followed predictable seasonal trends as well.

“This is not abnormal for January as Mississippi’s labor forceshowed relatively normal levels of employment and unemployment, ascompared to the variable shifting of seasonal trends,” he said.

Holland said the good news is that Lincoln County’s rate is notvery far off last year’s numbers, although the overall countyrating has dropped several places.

“Looking back to last year, we were at 6.7 percent in January,so we’re really about the same,” he said. “But in the county bycounty, we’re at 35, so we’ve lost a little ground there whenyou’re considering we’re usually low 20s or something.”

Holland said, however, that with warmer weather coming on, theoutlook is optimistic.

“We’ve got a good bit of construction going on on the boulevard,and different projects and things going on so it should pick up inthe next few months,” he said.

Of other area counties, Amite and Jefferson both saw drops intheir numbers, with Amite falling from 6.7 percent in December to6.5 percent in January. While claiming the highest unemploymentrate in the state, Jefferson County listed a 12.7 unemploymentrate, as opposed to December’s 13.2 percent.

Franklin County’s percentage rose from 6.3 percent to 6.6percent. Copiah County recorded a gain from December’s 7.2 percentto January’s 7.5 percent.

Lawrence County reported a .6 percent rise from December’s 7.2percent to 7.8 percent in January. Walthall is up from 6.3 percentto 6.7 percent, and Pike County rose from 6.4 percent to 6.6percent in January.