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Local unemployment rate declines

     State and local unemployment rates continue to see a decrease with the recent release of numbers for April 2013 from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

     Lincoln County showed an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. Mississippi’s unemployment rate is 8.2 while the U.S. unemployment rate is 7.1.

     Mayor Les Bumgarner said these numbers are great and looking promising as students finish school for the summer.

     “For rates to go down as more people are entering the workforce, that’s a very positive sign,” he said.

     Garrick Combs, Economic Development Director for the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Foundation, said the numbers show the change in the economy across the state.

     “These numbers in the state and region are an indication of employers slowly hiring back the work force and the large scale layoffs of the recession era are behind us,” he said.

     Combs said he expects numbers to increase slightly during the summer as people who have been in school look for part-time or full-time jobs. He predicts numbers to decrease again in the fall.

     Rates are down slightly from last April for Lincoln County, Mississippi and the United States. The April rate for 2012 for Lincoln County was 8.2; Mississippi, 8.3; and the United States, 7.7.

     Rates in the area have continued to fall. Pike County stood at 9.6 percent in April 2013; Walthall, at 10.1; Lawrence, at 8.4; Copiah, at 9.1; Jefferson, at 15.1; Franklin, at 8.7; and Amite, at 8.4 percent.

     “The numbers continue to show Brookhaven as an economic leader in the area,” Combs said, citing manufacturing, healthcare and other industries as providing these jobs.

     Lincoln County ranked 27th in lowest unemployment rate in the state. Rankin County ranked first with 4.8 percent and Issaquena ranked last with 17.3 percent.

     Lincoln County’s annual rate sits at 9.3 percent, while Mississippi’s is at 9.2 percent.