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August Unemployment Is Up

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Yalobusha County’s unemployment rate for August fell half a percentage point from July but rose 2.7 percent from August of last year, according to the latest figures released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

The August figure of 9.8 percent unemployment is 1.2 percent higher than the average for the month for the past five years, according to statistics from the MDES.

The annual exodus of students from the summertime labor force helped to ease the pressure on Mississippi’s job market in August. Competition for available jobs was lessened, leading to a drop in the unadjusted unemployment rate from 8.6 to 7.7 percent.

The total civilian labor force declined by 28,300 over the month as the number of unemployed dropped by 14,400 and the number of jobholders also fell by 13,900 people.

The August 2008 rate of 8.5 percent was 1.5 percentage points higher than the year ago rate of 7.0 percent.

Comparable figures for the nation showed unadjusted unemployment rates of 6.1percent for August, 6.0 percent for July, and 4.7 percent for August of last year.

Over the month, the nation’s labor force declined by 913,000, employment fell by 958,000,and the number of unemployed individuals increased by 46,000, which led to the slight increase in the national unemployment rate.

Yalobusha County’s labor force in August was reported by the MDES at 5,370 with 520 unemployed.

Labor force movements in local areas around the state followed the statewide trend with most areas showing lower rates of unemployment. The highest rates for August were recorded in Jefferson County at 17.4 percent and in Holmes County at 16.5 percent. On the other end of the scale Rankin County registered the lowest rate at 4.9 percent followed by Desoto at 5.4 percent.

“Increased agricultural activity should lead to more job opportunities over the next couple of months and a review of past trends has shown a decline in the unemployment rate from August to September,” said Wayne Gasson, Director, Office of Public Information for MDES.

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