County’s unemployment rate lowest in 5 years for end of year

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, January 27, 2024

Lincoln County’s rate of unemployment for December 2023 was the lowest it has been in five years, at 2.9 percent. The state average was 2.6 percent.

Of 14,170 eligible workers in the county, 410 were without jobs during December. In November, that total was 370 (2.6 percent of 14,160). In December 2022, however, the county had 490 unemployed persons, or 3.4 percent of 14,350 workers.

The 2023 12-month average for Lincoln County was 3.2 percent, or 460 people unemployed each month from a labor pool of 14,310.

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Though higher than November, December’s 2.9 percent was the lowest percentage for every final month since 2018 — 2.9 (2023); 3.4 (2022 and 2021); 5.9 (2020); 5.6 (2019); and 5.4 (2018).

For December, 27 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates equal to or less than the state average. Lafayette and Union counties had the lowest rates at 1.8 percent. Jefferson County and Issaquena County had the highest rates, at 10.4 and 7.7 percent, respectively.

Jefferson County had 180 workers unemployed from a labor force of just 1,730; and Issaquena County had only 300 people in its workforce, so its rather high unemployment rate in reality only represents 20 individuals.

In contrast, Lafayette County had a low rate of 1.8 percent that represents 510 people from a labor force of 28,100. Union County, however, is similar in labor force population to Lincoln County, with 14,500 available for work in December. It’s unemployment rate was also 1.8 percent, or 260 people.

Other counties bordering Lincoln posted the following rates: Copiah, 2.8; Lawrence, 3.4; Walthall, Pike and Amite, 3.6; and Franklin, 4.1.

State rates improve

Mississippi is ranked 9th for overall change in unemployment in the nation, by WalletHub.

Mississippi’s unemployment total dropped by 0.3 percent from November to December 2023 — 40,132 down from 40,252 — the eighth-best change in the U.S.

In one year (December 2022-December 2023), the number of unemployed in the state dropped by 19.91 percent, from 50,106. It was the sixth-best change in the nation.

Overall, Mississippi’s latest unemployment rate of 3.3 percent for December 2023 was the 21st lowest rate nationwide.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines an individual as employed if they are age 16 or older and did any work at all for pay or profit during the surveyed week — including all part-time and temporary work.

Unemployed individuals are those who do not have a job, but have actively looked for work during the previous four weeks, and are currently available for work. These two groups together make up the labor force. Full-time students, active duty members of the Armed Forces, and those in institutions are not included.