Jobless rate jumps to 13.1 percent in the county

Jobless rate jumps to 13.1 percent in the county By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times

Webster County’s unemployment rate rose to 13.1 percent in  January, a 0.9 percent increase from the previous month.
Unemployment rates here were 12.2 percent in December and 13.7 percent in January 2011
Additionally, Mississippi Department of Employment Security data shows the county’s labor force lost 250 people from December to January.
The county’s labor force, which includes the employed and those actively seeking work, was at 3,420 in January, compared to 3,670 in December.
The drop in labor force can be attributed to such things as people exhausting their unemployment benefits and no longer looking for jobs as well as those unemployed who have reached the age where they quality for Social Security benefits.
The number of people listed as unemployed was 450 in  January, the same as in December. The number of people employed was 2,970, while the previous month’s figure was 3,220.
The county saw 52 initial claims for unemployment benefits in  January, compared to 67 the previous month. There were 361 continued claims for benefits in  January and 284 a month earlier.
Statistics from the MDES, which date back to January 1970, show the county’s highest unemployment rate for  January came in 2010, when it reached 17.2 percent. The lowest rate for the month was in 1974, when it dropped to 4.1 percent both years.
In comparison to the seven surrounding counties, the Webster unemployment rate for  January was less than Clay (17.6 percent) but more than Calhoun (10.1), Oktibbeha (10.4), Grenada (10.7), Choctaw (11), Chickasaw (11.5) and Montgomery (13).
Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for  January was at 10 percent while the national unadjusted average was 8.8 percent.
Only 23 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s and 10 counties posted rates greater than 15 percent. Rankin County had the lowest jobless rate at 6.3 percent and Holmes posted the highest at 18 percent.
Webster County ended calendar year 2011 with an average unemployment rate of 13.1 percent. That rate compares to  14.3 percent in 2010 and 13.8 percent in 2009.
Webster County’s highest jobless rate in 2011 was 14.2 percent in July. The lowest jobless rate was 12.1 percent in November.