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State Tweaks Stats For Job Count

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Unemployment in Yalobusha County was 9.2 percent for the month of January.

            Although the figure for December was 8.2 percent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that unemployment rose a point over the month. According to the latest release from the Mississippi Department of Unemployment Security, new methods were used to create the latest estimates

            About every 10 years the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program undergoes a major change in methodology, the release stated. This change, referred to as the LAUS Program 2015 Redesign is an effort by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to generate more accurate and reliable statistics.

            Two primary changes impacting the 2015 Redesign are the (1) introduction of estimation inputs from the American Community Survey to replace inputs that were previously obtained from the decennial census long-form survey which no longer exists and (2) revised Dynamic Residency Ratios which connect establishment based amounts to residency based amounts, quoting from the MDES release.

            Because 2014 amounts are currently in the process of being, prior month/year data for comparison purposes is not being made available. Data based on the new methodology back through 2010 will be provided once all revisions are completed.

            The latest estimates do show that Yalobusha’s 9.2 percent unemployment rate is 1.4 percent higher than Mississippi’s average of 7.8 percent for the month.

             According to MDES estimates, 4,450 people were employed during the month out of a labor force of 4,900 as compared to 4.940 employed during December out of a labor force of 5,380, a considerable adjustment in the numbers.

            The labor force is defined by MDES as the estimated number of people eligible for work or actively seeking employment. But, those figures don’t include people who have given up looking for work or are no longer participating in the labor force.

            In comparison to the five surrounding counties, the Yalobusha unemployment rate was less than Panola (11.6) and Tallahatchie (10.8) but higher than Calhoun (8.5), Grenada (7.5) and Lafayette (6.4).

            Initial unemployment insurance claims went down over the month from 65 to 26. And, so did continuing claims, which went down from 262 in December to 220 in January.

            The January 2014 initial claims (26) are less than the 60 in January 2014, and the continuing claims are considerably lower (220) than the year ago figure of 655.

            MDES paid $34,792 in Yalobusha for unemployment benefits in January as compared to $36,775 in December and a whopping $178,790 a year ago.

            Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for January 2014 was 7.8 percent with twenty-six counties posting unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of January at 4.6 percent followed by Lamar and Madison Counties at 5.2 percent. Issaquena County had the highest unemployment rate for January at 24.5 percent followed by Humphreys County at 18.9 percent.

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