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Jobless Rate Takes Jump In January

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Unemployment appeared to take a big jump for January, but the Mississippi Department of Employment Security says the figures aren’t strictly comparable to any from 2012.
The unadjusted unemployment rate for Yalobusha County in January is 11.6 percent, which they say can’t be compared to December’s 9.5 percent.
According to the MDES, annually at this time of year work is performed to revise labor force estimates from previous years. Rather than further delay release of the January information, the decision was made to publish the unrevised 2012 data along with the preliminary January 2013 estimates.
They add that revised data for 2012 should be released in time for the February or March 2013 estimates. At that time, comparison of data across years will be valid.
The most recent MDES figures show a labor force of 5,970 in the county with 5,280 currently employed. That leaves 690 people out of work.
Keeping in mind that these figures aren’t comparable, the MDES estimated the December labor force at 5,990 with 5,420 employed. That left 570 people unemployed.
The labor force is defined by MDES as the estimated number of people eligible for work or actively looking for work.
Just three years ago in January 2010, the unemployment rate was 15.5 percent. And, just two years before that in January 2008, the rate was almost half that at 8.1 percent.
One comparison that can be made is to the five surrounding counties where the Yalobusha unemployment rate was less than Panola (13.4), Tallahatchie (14.9) and Calhoun (12.0); even with Grenada (11.6); but more than Lafayette (9.0).
Assuming that the unemployment insurance claims figures are not estimates and are comparable, initial claims went down over the month, going from 132 in December to 56 in January. Continuing claims went up slightly from 608 in December to 627 in January.
The January 2013 initial claims are dead even with January 2012 (56), but considerably less (627) that the year ago figure (872).
Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for January 2013 was 10.7 percent and the nations’s was 8.5 percent.
For the month of January 2013, only twenty-four counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 10.7 percent. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of January at 6.6 percent. Fourteen counties reported rates greater than 15.0 percent. Tunica County had the highest unemployment rate for January at 20.9 percent.

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