July jobless rate falls slightly

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Webster County was one of only eight counties in Mississippi where unemployment rates fell in July, according to figures released last week. The county’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 12.6 percent in July, below June’s 12.9 percent. Webster also remained below its 14.9 percent jobless rate from last July, as did all other counties.

June’s local unemployment rate was up 1.7 percentage points from the previous month.

Other counties where unemployment rates fell in July were Clarke, Coahoma, Humphreys, Issaquena, Oktibbeha, Pontotoc and Tunica.

Out of a labor force of 3,430, Webster County had 430 unemployed in July.

Statistics from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, which date back to January 1970, show the county’s highest unemployment rate for July came in 1986, when reached 21.4 percent.

The lowest rate for the month of July was in 1973, when it dropped to 34. percent.

Unemployment rates rose from June to July in 71 counties, while rates were flat in three. Ten counties reported rates greater than or equal to 15 percent. Rankin County’s 6.1 percent remained the lowest while neighboring Clay County’s 18.9 percent remained highest.

County-level rates aren’t adjusted to cancel out predictable seasonal changes. Students and teachers seeking summer work can increase unemployment.

July jobless rates in counties that adjoin Webster (besides Clay): • Calhoun, 10 percent. • Grenada, 10.2 percent. • Oktibbeha, 11.3 percent. • Choctaw, 11.4 percent. • Chickasaw, 12.4 percent. • Montgomery, 12.8 percent.

Seasonally adjusted, the state’s jobless rate was at 9.1 percent in July while the national rate was at 8.3 percent.