Unemployment increases across Golden Triangle

June 27, 2013 10:17:37 AM



Statistics released Wednesday indicated there were about 300 more people in Lowndes County last month without work than there were in May 2012. 


The county's unemployment rate is 10.1 percent -- a half point above last May's 9.6 percent. That's about 2,750 people who are out of a job. 


The most recent finding continues on a trend unbroken to date this year -- each month in 2013, the rate has been at least a half-percent above that month in 2012.  


This past January, there was a reported 11.6 percent unemployed -- a more-than-one-percent leap from 10.5 in January 2012. The coxunty has since closed the gap on last year's numbers, but the 10.1 percent of unemployed residents is above the statewide average of 9.2. The statewide average is up one 0.1-percent from May 2012 but up a full point from April 2013. 


The most recent reported rate is a more-than-one-percent jump on April 2013's rate of 9.0. 


Modest employment gains were reported in manufacturing, administrative support and government. 


That trend is also true in Oktibbeha and Clay counties, where jobless rates increased after unemployment rates had previously dropped between March and April. 


Oktibbeha County's unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent in May after declining to 7.8 percent in April. May's figure represents 2,030 unemployed residents, the MDES report states. 


Clay County's 18.5 percent May jobless rate again was the highest in the state and will almost certainly get worse. That figure, which represents 1,370 job seekers, does not include the almost 80 workers who will need employment once West Point's Navistar Defense plant shuts down in July. 


Although Clay County's percentage of unemployed workers has consistently placed higher than most of the state's other 81 counties, its reported number of employed residents has increased since January. In that month, MDES recorded 5,990 employed workers. That number reached 6,140 in April but declined a month later to 6,030. Actual unemployment numbers also improved from January's 1,550 mark to May's figure. The state report, however, lists a decline in the county's civilian labor force. That number dropped from 7,540 to 7,400 workers from January to May. 


Clay County's 18.5 percent unemployment rate joins four other counties -- Claiborne, Holmes, Issaquena and Jefferson -- with rates higher than 15.8 percent. Clay beat out Jefferson in May for the highest unemployment rate by 0.2 percent. 


Since January, Oktibbeha County's civilian labor force and number of employed workers have increased, while the number of unemployed workers decreased. The county saw its lowest unemployment rate (7.8 percent) and number of unemployed workers (1,660) in April, but May's number of job-seeking residents is only 200 fewer than January's amount. According to MDES, 2,000 county residents have found jobs since January. 


Oktibbeha joins 35 other Mississippi counties with May unemployment percentages between 7.2 and 10.3 percent. Only six counties - DeSoto, Jones, Lamar, Madison, Neshoba and Rankin - posted unemployment rates between 5.5 and 7.1 percent. 


With about 600 people seeking work, Noxubee County remains one of the most unemployed in the state percentage-wise, showing a 15.7 percent rate. That is a 0.2 percent decrease from last May's total of 15.9 but up more than two percent from last month's report of 13.5 percent. The county's rates have been down each month from last year except in January, when the 17.3-percent rate was up 0.6 January 2012.