Jobless rate up, work force down

Published 4:00 pm Friday, October 29, 2021

Lower non-farm September unemployment numbers of Mississippi workers don’t reflect a brighter situation than last month because there are actually fewer people available to work in the Lincoln County work force right now.

Out of the 14,910 available workers 16 and up in Lincoln County, 14,280 are employed, which spells out a 4.3% unemployment rate.

In August, Lincoln County had an available labor force of 14,780 people; 820 were unemployed, or 5.6% of the labor force. The county had 950 unemployed from a work force of 15,180 in July — a drop of 400 in the work force and 130 fewer without work.

Out of 4,600 available workers in Lawrence County, 4,330 are employed, equaling a 5.8 unemployment rate, and in Franklin, 2,570 of the 2,730 available workers are employed, for a 5.7 unemployment rate.

Among the three counties, Lincoln had 630 people unemployed, Lawrence 270 and Franklin 160 for the month of September.

In the United States, 161,392,000 made up the civilian labor force. In Mississippi, there are 1,264,600 people in the work force.  Comparing the national rate with the state one, the U.S.’s unemployment rate was 4.6 in September and the state’s was 4.7. That’s down from the 7.0 rate of just a year ago.

A year ago in September 2020, Lincoln County’s labor force stood at 14,560, with 13,640 employed and 920 unemployed for a 6.3 unemployment number.  Lawrence County’s labor force was 4,680 with 4,300 employed and 380 unemployed with an unemployment rate at 8.0.  Franklin County last year had 2,780 people in the labor market, with 2,560 employed and 220 unemployed for a 8.0 unemployment.

At 2.7%, Mississippi’s “not seasonal” adjusted unemployment rate for September 2021 decreased 1.2 percentage points from the previous month and 2.3 percentage points from a year ago. The number of unemployed decreased 15,500, while the employed total increased 8,500 from August, according to Mississippi Labor Market Data brochure from the Department of Labor and Statistics and state employment security agencies.

For the month of September 2021, 32 Mississippi counties posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s 4.7%. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate once again at 3.1, followed by Union County at 3.3%. Jefferson County had the highest unemployment rate at 15.6 and Humphreys County had 10.7.

A count in August and then in September of unemployment rate percentages of counties bordering Lincoln County is as follows:

• Copiah, 7.8% (August) to 5.5 percent (September)

• Lawrence, 8.1% (August) to 5.8 percent (September)

• Franklin, 8.6% (August) to 5.7 (September)

• Walthall, 8.6% (August) to 6.0 (September)

• Pike, 8.9% (August) to 6.1 percent (September)

• Amite, 9.3% (August) to 6.2 percent (September)

• Jefferson, 19.7% (August) to 15.6 percent (September)

Initial Lincoln County filings of unemployment claims in September numbered 33 as opposed to 56 in August and 138 in September 2020. In Lawrence County, 19 claims were made in September, 30 in August and 66 this time last year. In Franklin County, six unemployment claims were filled as compared to 13 in August and 32 in September 2020.

In the entire state of Mississippi, there were 6,627 initial unemployment claims in September, 9,575 in August and 18,631 this time last year. In September, almost $6 million was paid in benefits, compared to about $9.5 million in August and nearly $48 million in September 2020.

The labor force includes people age 16 and older who are able to work and are either employed or looking for work. This number does not include full-time students, members of the Armed Forces or those with farm jobs, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Monthly estimates of the labor force, unemployment and other rates are generated by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program, a cooperate program between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and State Employment Security Agencies. Persons are counted only once even if they hold multiple jobs. Data is published by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Story by Angela Cutrer