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County’s Jobless Rate Drops

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Unemployment in Yalobusha County was 7.9 percent for the month of February.

            However, just as January’s figure was artificially high at 9.2 percent, the February figure may be artificially low because of the new methods being used to create the latest estimates.

            According to the Mississippi Department of Unemployment Security the LAUS Program 2015 Redesign is an effort by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to generate more accurate and reliable statistics.

            The latest estimates do show that Yalobusha’s 7.9 percent unemployment rate is over a percentage point higher than Mississippi’s average of 6.8 percent for the month.

 According to MDES preliminary estimates, 4,490 people were employed during the month out of a labor force of 4,990 as compared to the revised January figures which show 4,450 employed out of a labor force of 4,910. Once again that is a considerable adjustment in the numbers from last month.

            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 (10) and Tallahatchie (9) but higher than Calhoun (7.1), Grenada (6.5) and Lafayette (5.1).

            Initial unemployment insurance claims stayed the same over the month at 26. But, continuing claims, fell from 220 in January to 164 in February.

            The February 2014 initial claims (26) are less than the 34 in February 2014, and the continuing claims are considerably lower (164) than the year ago figure of 558.

            MDES paid $28,916 in Yalobusha for unemployment benefits in February as compared to $34,792 in January and a whopping $136,102 a year ago.

            Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for February 2014 was 6.8 percent with twenty-eight counties posting unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate.

            Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of February at 4.0 percent followed by Madison County at 4.5 percent.

            Issaquena County had the highest unemployment rate for February at 21.3 percent followed by Humphreys County at 16.5 percent.

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