More workers without jobs in Lincoln County

Published 10:39 pm Friday, November 13, 2020

In Lincoln County, 880 people were without jobs in September, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

More than 13,800 people from the county’s available workforce of 14,690 people had jobs for the month. The 880 unemployed make up 6% of Lincoln County’s available workers, not including farm labor, full-time students or active military.

Approximately 290 more people were employed than in August, though 560 more entered the workforce in September — a negative difference of 370 persons without jobs.

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Lincoln was one of 32 counties below the state average of 6.8%. The county’s 12-month average was 7.1%.

Rankin County had the lowest unemployment percentage at 3.9%, while Lincoln County’s neighbor Jefferson County had the highest, 17.8%. Jefferson County has a workforce of 1,980, one of the lowest in the state, and 350 of those were unable to find work in September. Rankin County, conversely, has one of the largest workforces in the state with 76,660; 2,980 of those were unemployed in September.

Lincoln County’s other neighbors had the following September rates: Copiah 7%, Amite 7.2%, Franklin 7.4%, Lawrence 7.5%, Walthall 7.7% and Pike 8.2%.

In the previous year, the statewide unemployment rate remained at or near 5.1% for five months (October 2019 through February 2020) before dropping to 4.8% in March. After statewide shutdowns began to curb the spread of the coronavirus, April’s unemployment rate more than tripled, reaching 15.7%.

In the months following, the rate lowered to 10.4%, 9.8% and 10.1%, before falling to 7.9% in August.

In September, Mississippi reported 1.29 million people in the labor force, up 57,000 from the previous month. More than 1.2 million were employed, while 87,600 reported they were looking for work but were unable to find employment.

The work force average for the previous year was 1.25 million, with 1.15 million employed and 94,400 (7.5%) unemployed.

Unemployment insurance claims across the state followed the same pattern of rise and fall. In September 2019, 39,045 claims were filed — initial or continued — and $4.84 million was paid in benefits. In August 2020, 574,942 total claims were filed resulting in payouts of $74.84 million. September saw 360,683 claims filed and $47.67 million paid in benefits.

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.

National unemployment drops to 6.9%; US adds 638,000 jobs

U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs in October, a solid pace though far fewer than needed to regain most of the jobs lost to the pandemic recession just as new viral cases are setting record highs.

The gain suggested that a tentative economic recovery is still intact even as it faces a surging viral outbreak. October’s gain was slightly below the 672,000 jobs added in September and the 1.5 million in August.

But last month’s gain was stronger than it appears: It was held down by the loss of about 150,000 temporary Census jobs. Excluding governments, private employers added a healthy 906,000 jobs. Job growth was particularly strong in construction, retail, and a category that includes restaurants and hotels.

The report from the Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.9% in September. Still, the nation now has 10.1 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic intensified in March.

And the job market and the overall economy are under intensified pressure from the accelerating pandemic.

The economy, which had rebounded sharply in the July-September quarter as businesses reopened from virus-related shutdowns, is now expanding more slowly. Many businesses, especially restaurants and bars that had made use of outdoor seating, may struggle as the weather turns colder. Consumers could also pull back again on shopping, traveling and other activities to avoid contracting the virus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.