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Jobless rate holding steady

Less than 1,000 people in Lincoln County were unemployed in January, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

From a workforce of 14,640 – individuals age 16 and over who are physically able to work and are in the military – the 980 that were jobless represent 6.7 percent. This is the same percentage as one year ago, and the previous year, as well. These are the lowest January figures for the county since 2004.

Lincoln was tied for 39th place in lowest jobless rates, along with Hancock and Yalobusha counties.

Rankin County has the lowest jobless rate, at 4.2 percent, followed closely by Madison and Union counties, at 4.4 percent each.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is Issaquena County, with a 21.2 percent unemployment rate. Issaquena and Jefferson counties are dramatically higher in unemployment than any other county in the state. Jefferson’s rate is 17.6 percent.

The statewide jobless rate was 6.1 for January, with the national average at 5.1 percent.

Mississippi’s labor force was up about 8,000 from December to 1,291,220, with nearly 146,000 of those being farm labor jobs. The percentage of those unemployed, however, stayed steady at 5.5, representing 71,472 jobs needed.

Across the U.S., the labor force rose by approximately 100,000, and has risen 1.4 million across the previous 12 months. Although the physical number of those unemployed has necessarily risen as more people have entered the workforce, the jobless percentage has dropped slightly, down 0.1 percent to 4.8, representing more than 7.6 million unemployed people who are able to work and yet remain without a job.

MDES released the data for January Wednesday. Monthly estimates are generated and compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and state employment security agencies. BLS uses the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly population surveys to compile labor force data. Statistics are based upon citizens’ place of residence rather than location of potential workplaces.