Jobless rate sees major Oct. decline

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Both Lincoln County’s and Mississippi’s October unemploymentrates are down substantially from the September numbers, givinglocal officials hope for a better showing going into Christmasseason.

Lincoln County’s 7.1 percent unemployment is down considerablyfrom the 8.5 posted in September, while the state has gone downfrom 7.5 to 6.9 percent, according to the Mississippi Department ofEmployment Security.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said the numbers seem to bode well forthe next few months.

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“Our most recent figures are good news for the coming monthswith the holiday shopping now in full swing,” he said. “We canexpect to see it improve for November and December as localbusinesses will be taking on part-time work for the holidays.”

Twenty-seven counties in Mississippi posted unemployment ratesless than or equal to the state’s rate. Historically rates go downbetween October and November based on seasonal hiring for theholidays, officials said.

Lincoln County ranked 31 of the 82 counties, with Amite beingthe only area county below the state’s average, standing at 6.8percent. September showed a 7.4 rate for Amite.

Walthall County rests with Lincoln at 7.1 percent, down from 8.2percent in September. Pike is down to 7.4 percent for October,after September’s 8.0 percent.

Copiah County, which sat at 8.0 percent for September, alsoshowed a slight decline in unemployment, with a 7.7 percentage ratefor October.

Lawrence and Jefferson counties, which both were in thedouble-digits in September, also experienced decreases inemployment. Lawrence County’s 10.3 for September fell to 8.5 forOctober. Jefferson, which has traditionally been among the threehighest unemployment rates in the state, posted an 11.0 rate forOctober after a whopping 14.2 percent in September, placing it atnumber 76 in the state.

Still, local officials are hoping for better going into theholidays. However, they admit that some industries are stillstruggling.

“We have some that are in slower cycles, like the timber andother industrial sectors, so our rate is larger than we’d like tosee,” Brumfield said.

Brumfield pointed out, though, that with the national economicclimate as it stands, Lincoln County is doing quite well.

“Considering the national economy and that of some of ourneighbors, this shows the strength of the Brookhaven economy andretail segment,” he said.