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Feb. jobless rates show modest improvement

As the weather turns warmer and farming picks up, hopefully sodoes employment across the state.

Lincoln County has already shown a slight uptick in employedresidents, according to the latest numbers released by theMississippi Department of Employment Security.

January 2010 showed Lincoln County with a 12.5 percent unemploymentrate, but February offered a downturn, with 12.2 percent of thepopulation jobless. Brookhaven Lincoln County Chamber of CommerceExecutive Vice President Cliff Brumfield said the trend willhopefully continue.

“We’re glad to see that our numbers have inched down a bit, whichwas expected,” he said. “Our falling so close to the state averageis comforting. As the warmer months come and economy improves, itshould continue to drop.”

Lincoln County trailed just behind Copiah County’s 12.1 percentFebruary rate, which was also down from January’s 12.3percent.

The two counties were ranked 23 and 24 out of the state’s 82counties for lowest unemployment rate. Rankin County leads the listcurrently with 7.9 percent.

The statewide average stood at 12 percent for February.

Amite County showed a rise in the last month, however. The countywas at a 13.3 percent rate for February, up from January’s 12.9percent.

Lawrence County’s 13.4 percent was down considerably from January’s14.1 percent, and Franklin also showed a drop from 14.9 percent inthe first month of the year to 14.6 percent in February.

Walthall County had a slight rise in its numbers, from 14.9 percentin January to a flat 15 percent in February, while Jefferson Countywas at 19.5 percent, down from January’s 19.9 percent.

Brumfield said there is always hope on the horizon, especially asthe spring brings more sunshine. The economy seems to want toimprove, he said, though things are somewhat unpredictable underthe current financial climate of the country.

“Other economic indicators from this quarter, such as previoussales tax returns, have also been positive, however numbers canstill decline from time to time,” he said. “But we’re definitelyseeing the curve lean toward our betterment.”