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Unemployment rate increases in December to 7%

Lincoln County’s unemployment rated increased to 7 percent in December, according to a recent report from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. The rate represents 1,000 people who couldn’t find work.

The county’s jobless rate was 5.6 percent in November, a number representing 800 people who couldn’t find work.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.4 percent in December from 6 percent in November,

The state’s labor force grew in December for the 12th consecutive month, rising by 8,900 to 1,296,000.

Although more Mississippians were working in December than in November, the unemployment rate rose because the Mississippi labor force increased at a slightly faster pace than employment.

The number of people working in Mississippi also climbed for the 12th month in a row, increasing by 3,100 to 1,213,300. That is the highest number of Mississippians with jobs since depth of the Great Recession in 2008.

The state’s unemployment rate is eight-tenths of a percentage point lower than the 7.2 percent unemployment rate reported for December 2014. The unemployment rate was highest — 9.9 percent — in 2010. The 12-month average is 6.5.

Lincoln County’s rate ranked 23 out of 82 counties. The lowest unemployment rate in the state is Rankin County at 4.7 percent, and the highest is Issaquena at 18.6 percent.

Among the surrounding counties, Lincoln County’s unemployment rate is the lowest. Copiah’s is 7.9, Lawrence’s is 8.4, Walthall’s is 8.4, Pike’s is 8.5, Franklin’s is 8.5, Amite’s is 8.8 and Jefferson’s is 15.4.

There were 52 initial unemployment claims and 365 continued claims filed in December in Lincoln County. The previous month there were 63 initial claims and 369 continued claims.

Unemployment insurance benefits paid for December 2015 were $67,979, up from $60,216 in November. It was up from $53,783 in December 2014.