Good news: Jobless rate drops

Published 7:00 pm Friday, March 29, 2013

Unemployment numbers were down across the state according to the Mississippi Department of Labor Security.

February numbers saw Lincoln County with the lowest unemployment in the southwestern region of the state with a 9.9 percent rate, down from 10.6 in January.

“I am glad to see it’s on a downward trend,” said Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner on Thursday. “We have some things working to make it go even lower.”

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He continued, “Everybody wants a job in Lincoln County, and my goal is to make sure that there is one there for them.”

President of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Pat Lowery, was guardedly optimistic about the recent numbers.

“[The rate] is still too high overall, but I think we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

Lowery is hopeful the trend will continue.

“I think we are going to see [the rate] decrease in the upcoming months,” he said. “The local economy is getting stronger.”

The state’s unemployment rate was also down from 10.6 percent in January to 9.9 in February, although, it is still well above the national rate of 8.1 percent.

Lincoln County had the 27th lowest unemployment rate among Mississippi’s 82 counties. Rankin, in the Jackson metro area, came in number one with 6.2 percent and Tunica County in the northern delta region came in last with a 20.1 percent unemployment rate.

All counties in the southwest region of the state saw decreased unemployment rates from January. Pike County had a rate of 11.6 percent; Walthall, 12.3; Lawrence, 10.6; Copiah, 11.0; Franklin, 10.4; and Amite, 10.2.

Jefferson County, which historically has shown the highest rate in the region, saw a significant decrease from 18 percent in January to 15.7 in February.

The national unemployment rate has decreased from 8.7 percent one year ago, although the state of Mississippi as well as Lincoln County saw an increase in the annual rate.

Although they reflected an improvement from the previous month, this February’s state and local numbers were still up slightly from one year ago. Last February, the state’s rate was 9.5 percent and Lincoln County’s was 9.8 percent.

The industries reported by the MDES with the largest monthly employment gains were government, leisure/hospitality and construction.