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County Unemployment Eases Up

By Jack Gurner


WATER VALLEY – Yalobusha County’s unemployment rate for June rose 1.1 percent from May and 1.4 percent from June of last year, according to the latest figures released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

The June figure of 9.7 percent unemployment is six-tenths percent higher than the average for the month for the past five years, according to statistics from the MDES.

As expected by MDES officials, labor force conditions for June reflected the full impact of student job seekers. Many students do not hold year-round jobs and are not considered part of the labor force during the school year. Once they begin their job search or find employment for the summer, they become part of the active labor force.

Many of these new or reentrants to the labor force were unable to find work pushing the number of unemployed up approximately 14,000 and the resulting unemployment rate from 6.9 percent to 7.9 percent over the month. This over the month trend of seeing the rate increase from May to June has occurred for the past thirty years in Mississippi, MDES officials said.

Nationally the unadjusted rate also showed an increase over the month, rising from 5.2 percent to 5.7 percent, and also over the year from the June 2007 rate of 4.7 percent. When adjusted for seasonal factors the national rate showed no change over the month, holding at 5.5 percent.

Yalobusha County’s labor force in June was reported by the MDES at 5,470 with 530 unemployed.

Results from the non-farm not seasonally adjusted employment survey, which counts jobs not people, showed a drop of 7,800 in employment over the month. The majority of this decrease was noted in Local Public Education, coinciding with the end of the school year, and the Health Care & Social Assistance sector. This over the month trend was also noted during 2007.

Labor force conditions across the state followed the state trend with most counties seeing their rates increase over the month and urban areas generally faring better than rural areas due to increased job opportunities for the student job seekers. Rankin County reported the lowest unemployment rate in the state for the month of June 2008 at 5.2 percent followed by DeSoto County at 5.5 percent and Lamar County at 5.8 percent.

Nineteen counties reported unemployment rates equal to or lower than the state rate of 7.9 percent and twenty-seven counties posted double-digit rates for the month of June. If past trends hold true we should see some relief from rising rates in July as student job seekers successfully find employment or abandon their search and exit the labor force for the summer, the MDES reported.

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