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Jobless rate inches up, stays average

At 5.5 percent for January, Lincoln County’s unemployment rate remains near the middle for averages across the state.

The workforce dropped in Lincoln County as 2018 became the new year, but the unemployment rate rose.

The number of people in the county unemployed yet looking for work was approximately 800 in January (5.5 percent), up from December’s 750 (5.1 percent). The final count for the county’s labor force in 2018 was 14,570, but that number dropped by 160 workers after the holidays.

Mississippi’s number of unemployed workers dropped from 60,500 to 60,200, but the labor force dropped slightly, as well. So the state average did not change, remaining at 4.7 percent.

The number of people on payrolls in the state remained the same at 1.16 million.

The national unemployment rate ticked up from 3.9 percent in December to 4.0.

Lincoln ranked a little higher among the state’s 82 counties in January than it did at the close of the year. Up from the 40 slot, Lincoln tied at 37 with Neshoba and Oktibbeha counties.

Once again, Rankin topped the list for lowest unemployment rate amongst Mississippi counties, at 3.7 percent. Three other counties followed closely behind at 3.9 percent — Lamar, Madison and Union.

Issaquena and Jefferson counties again claimed the poor fate of having the state’s largest unemployment rates, at 12.7 and 14.1 percent, respectively. Jefferson County’s 14.1 percent translates to 280 actual unemployed, but from a workforce of only 1,950.

The civilian labor force — those who are employed or actively seeking employment — is calculated based on place of residence for persons 16 years age and older. 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 State Employment Security Agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Statistics are compiled using data from the Current Population Survey. The survey is designed so that each person over the age of 16 who is not in an institution such as prison, mental hospital or active duty in the Armed Forces is counted and classified in only one group — employed, unemployed or not in the labor force.