Unemployment lowest in 4 years for county

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Webster County’s unemployment rate in November was the lowest seen in four years and was below 10 percent for the first time in that period.

November’s jobless rate of 9.7 percent was the lowest since the 9.3 percent recorded in November 2008. The county’s unemployment rate was 10.4 percent in October and 12.4 percent a year ago.

The labor force — the number of people employed or actively seeking employment — was 3,530 in November, compared to 3,540 a month earlier. The number of employed rose from 3,170 to 3,190.

Webster County’s highest unemployment rate for November came in 2002, when it reached 14.9 percent. The lowest rate for the month was in 1973, when it dropped to 2.1 percent.

Unemployment rates fell from October to November in all but one of Mississippi’s 82 counties, according to figures released last week by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Jobless rates also fell from November 2011 in 81 counties.

Seasonally adjusted, the state’s jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent in November from October’s 9 percent. November 2011’s rate was 10.6 percent.

Rankin County’s 4.6 percent remained the lowest jobless rate. Clay County’s 16.1 percent remained highest.

Most counties saw unemployment fall because fewer people sought work. The number of people telling surveyors they had jobs fell in 53 counties.

County-level rates aren’t adjusted to cancel out predictable seasonal changes.

November jobless rates in adjoining counties (besides Clay):

• Oktibbeha, 7.2 percent. • Calhoun, 7.5 percent. • Grenada, 8.4 percent. • Choctaw, 8.5 percent. • Chickasaw, 9.6 percent. • Montgomery, 10.3 percent.