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Jobless rate up, work force drops

The unemployment rate for Lincoln County in the month of August rose from July due to a decrease in available workers.

The county’s civilian work force was 14,820 in August, down from 15,090 in July, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, with 880 persons reporting they were looking for work but were unable to find employment. That unemployed number remains stable from July, but since the work force has dropped by 270 individuals, the percentage of those without work has increased, resulting in a higher unemployment rate — 6 percent, compared to July’s 5.8 percent.

Lincoln tied for 38th-lowest rate in the state Monroe and Montgomery counties. Unemployed rates for neighboring counties ranged from 6.5 in Copiah to the state’s biggest rate of 17.9 in Jefferson County. Other neighboring county rates were 6.8 in Pike, 7.4 in Franklin, 7.6 in Lawrence and Amite counties and 7.9 in Walthall County.

Twenty-seven counties of Mississippi’s 82 were at or below the state average of 5.6 for August, thought none were below the national average of 3.8 percent — 6.2 million unemployed from a labor force of more than 165 million, an increase of nearly 80,000 from July and a decrease in unemployment by 350,000 persons.

Rankin County remains in the state’s top spot with the lowest jobless rate — 4.1 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from July — though 3,170 individuals of Rankin’s 76,700 said they could not find work. Jefferson County, though anchored at bottom with its 17.9 percent unemployment badge, had only 360 unemployed, out of a labor force of barely more than 2,000.

Lincoln County’s 6 percent jobless rate is higher than that of August of the previous three years, when it was 4.8 or 5.4, but is equal to or lower than the previous two years, when it ranged from 6 to 6.7 percent. The county’s moving average is a labor force of 14,610 with 740 (5.1 percent) unemployed.

Monthly estimates of the labor force, employment, unemployment and unemployment rate are generated by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and State Employment Security agencies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines an individual employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey week; this includes all part-time and temporary work as well as full time year round employment. Unemployed individuals are those who do not have a job, have actively looked for work during the past four weeks and are currently available for work. The sum of employed and unemployed produces the Civilian Labor Force.