Unemployed numbers up for November

Published 9:37 am Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lincoln County’s work force dropped and the unemployment rate rose for November, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Lincoln County’s civilian work force in November dropped by 60 people for the second month in a row, bringing the county’s total to 14,660.

In November, 820 residents of Lincoln County said they were looking for employment but were unable to find work. That’s 5.6 percent of the work force. In October, that number was 840 (5.7 percent). Since the beginning of the fiscal year July 1, the unemployment rate has fluctuated from a high of 6 percent in August to a low of 5.5 percent in September.

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With the fluctuation of work force and unemployment, the total number of individuals who have left the workforce has not changed, remaining at 370. People leave the work force by becoming full-time students, becoming an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces, moving away from Lincoln County or through death.

At this time of year across the past five years, the unemployment rate has dropped from 5.7 and 5.8 percent in 2014 and 2015 to 4.5 and 4.3 in 2017 and 2018. This November’s rate is slightly above the average for those years, but is not out of line for the season.

Statewide, the civilian work force has changed little, remaining at 1.29 million for November, rising by only 200 people from the previous month. The work force rose by more than 15,000, however, from November 2018. The state’s unemployment rate average is 5.5 percent — 70,000 people — an increase of 3,500 persons from the previous month and an increase of 16,200 since this point in 2018. Nationwide, 5.8 million people were unemployed out of a work force of 164.4 million, down to 3.5 percent from 3.6 in October and 3.7 in November 2018.

Lamar and Rankin counties tied for lowest unemployment rate for November, at 4.0 percent. Statewide, 26 counties had unemployment rates equal to or less than the state average. Lincoln County was at 27th, with a rate of 5.6 percent — tied with Hancock, Marion and Monroe counties.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Holmes (10) Claiborne (10.6) and Jefferson (15.6). Counties adjacent to Lincoln County had rates of 6.3 to 15.6 — Copiah (6.3), Pike (6.5), Lawrence (6.7), Amite (7), Franklin (7.2), Walthall (7.6) and Jefferson (15.6).

At the top of the list, Lamar County had a labor force of 31,870, with 1,290 unemployed (4). Rankin County had a labor force of 76,700, with 3,100 unemployed (4). The county with the lowest physical number of people unemployed was Issaquena, with only 30 people unemployed. Because the county’s workforce is only 360, however, the county’s percentage of unemployment was 8.9 percent.

Rounding out the bottom of the list, Holmes County had a labor force of 5,640, with 560 unemployed (10); Claiborne had a labor force of 2,920, with 310 unemployed (10.6); and Jefferson had a labor force of 1,970, with 310 unemployed (15.6).

The county with the largest physical number of people unemployed was Hinds, with 5,720 people unemployed. Because the county’s workforce is 110,030, however, that percentage is relatively low at only 5.2 percent.

MDES also provides data for community college districts, planning and development districts, workforce development areas and three metropolitan statistical areas (Jackson, Hattiesburg and Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula). Lincoln County is part of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College District, the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District and the South-Central Mississippi Works WDA. The county is not part of a metropolitan statistical area.

The CLCC District — encompassing Adams, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln and Simpson counties — had a labor force of 57,450, down by 120 from October, and an unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, up by 0.2 percent — 120 people.

The SWMP&D District — encompassing Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties — had a labor force of 64,540 (up by 10 from October) and an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent (up by 0.2 percent, or 110 people).

The SCMW Workforce Development Area — encompassing Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Hinds, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Madison, Pike, Rankin, Simpson, Walthall, Warren, Wilkinson and Yazoo counties — had a labor force of 356,300, down by 890, and an unemployment rate of 5 percent — up by 0.3 percent, or 820 individuals.

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.