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Labor rate dips to 4.8 percent

Lincoln County’s unemployment rate fell in August for the second consecutive month after seasonal summer workers dropped out of the labor force.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security’s report on labor rates for August 2018 shows Lincoln County’s unemployment rate down to 4.8 percent, a further drop from July’s 5.1 percent and almost a full percentage point down from June’s high of 5.7 percent. The downward trend is the result of a decrease in the number of available workers — likely student workers trading in their name tags for campus parking passes — as 300 of them were removed from the labor force, lowering the pool and opening up jobs for others.

The August report shows Lincoln County’s labor force fell by 300 workers, from 15,130 in July to 14,830 in August. The moving-on of seasonal workers also decreased the number of employed citizens by 240, from 14,360 in July to 14,120 in August. The number of jobless workers now sits at 710, a decrease of 60 from July’s number of 770.

Other counties seem to be recovering from the summer slump a little faster than Lincoln County, which is tied with Tate County for No. 30 in the state’s unemployment rankings after falling eight spots from July. Rankin County continues to hold the state’s top spot with 3.4 percent unemployment, and Jefferson County continues to lead in joblessness with 14.7 percent unemployment.

Lincoln County still leads in Southwest Mississippi, with Copiah County following at 5.4 percent unemployment, Pike County at 5.8 percent, Franklin and Lawrence counties at 6.3 percent, and Adams County at 6.5 percent.

Across the region, 61,240 workers are employed out of a labor force of 65,470. Southwest Mississippi’s unemployment rate as a whole is 6.5 percent, as 4,230 are unemployed.

Lincoln County’s step downward in unemployment brings the numbers closer to the 2018 monthly average of 4.6 percent, and this year’s August numbers are better than previous years’ results. Late-summer unemployment was 5.3 percent last year, 5.8 percent in 2016, 5.9 percent in 2015, 6.6 percent in 2014 and 7.4 percent in 2013.

Mississippi’s unemployment rate held at 4.8 percent form July to August, though another 500 people joined the unemployment ranks. There are 61,600 unemployed across the state, with 1.22 million of the state’s 1.28 million-strong labor force employed.

There were small gains on the national level. The United State’s unemployment rate remains at 3.9 percent, but 46,000 people found jobs between July and August, as the number of unemployed fell form 6.28 million to 6.24 million. There were 155.5 million Americans working in August — about 48 percent of the nation’s population — out of a labor force of 161.7 million.

Monthly estimates of the labor force, employment, unemployment and the unemployment rate are generated by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, a cooperative program between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and State Employment Security Agencies.

Each person who is over the age of 16 and who is not in an institution such as prison or mental hospital or on active duty with the Armed Forces is only counted in one group — employed, unemployed or not in the labor force.

An individual is considered employed if they did any work for pay or profit within the previous week, including all part-time and temporary work as well as full-time employment. Unemployed individuals are those who do not have a job, have actively looked for work within the previous four weeks and currently available for work.