By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – Yalobusha County made the top ten for unemployment in Mississippi for December 2008. The 12 percent unemployment figure is the highest it has been for the past five years, according to the latest numbers released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
Unemployment in Yalobusha County was also higher than the five surrounding counties by at least two percentage points. The figures are based on the county of residence.
Mississippi’s unemployment rate increased sharply in December 2008, from 6.6 percent in November to 7.6 percent. The December 2008 rate was also higher than one year ago when the rate was 6.3 percent.
The nation’s unemployment rate also increased over the month from 6.5 to 7.1 percent for December and was elevated significantly when compared to the year ago rate of 4.8 percent.
The national rate of 7.1 percent for December 2008 was the highest seen during the month of December since 1992 when the rate was also 7.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported.
Results from Mississippi’s nonfarm employment survey, which is counted by the location of establishments, reported a significant decrease of 8,900 in employment over the month and 26,300 from one year ago. The largest employment losses were noted over the month in Professional & Business Services, and Manufacturing.
Over the year the largest employment decreases were noted in Manufacturing; Leisure & Hospitality; Professional & Business Services; and Trade, Transportation & Utilities.
Unemployment rates increased over the month in all eighty-two counties. Neighboring Lafayette County along with Rankin to the south posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 4.8 percent.
Twenty-two counties reported double-digit rates for December. Based on historical trends, January’s statewide unemployment rate will probably rise, according to the MDES.