By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times
Webster County’s unemployment rate in October dropped to its lowest level in nearly four years last month, falling to 10.4 percent.
That’s the lowest rate for the county since December 2008, when it was 10.2 percent.
October’s rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than September and 3.4 points lower than October 2011, according to figures released last week by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
This was Webster County’s lowest jobless rate for calendar year 2012 to date. The highest was in June, when it reached 12.9 percent.
The county’s highest unemployment rate for October came in 1982, when it reached 18.6 percent. The lowest rate for the month was in 1972, when it dropped to 3.1 percent.
The labor force — the number of people employed or actively seeking employment — was 3,540 in October, compared to 3,570 a month earlier. But the number of employed rose from 3,160 to 3,170.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.9 percent, down from 9.2 percent in September. Seasonally adjusted data removes the effects of regular patterns such as holidays, opening and closing of school, and other recurring events.
County numbers are released as unadjusted figures only.
Using unadjusted numbers, the state’s jobless rate was 8.3 percent in October and the nation’s was 7.5 percent. Only 26 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates lower than or equal to the state’s rate.
Sixty counties had unemployment rates lower than or equal to Webster’s. Rankin recorded the lowest at 5.2 percent while Clay had the highest at 16.4 percent.
October jobless rates in adjoining counties: • Oktibbeha, 7.8 percent. • Calhoun, 8.2 percent. • Grenada, 9 percent. • Choctaw, 9.3 percent. • Chickasaw, 10.4 percent. • Montgomery, 11 percent. • Clay, 16.4 percent.