Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Unemployment shows slight drop

By David Howell

Unemployment is down slightly in Panola County from October to November, dropping from 12.2 percent to 11.5 percent, the lowest rate recorded in 2011.

The latest figures from the Mississippi Department of Employ-ment Security show that the number of people out of work in November was 1,920, compared to 2,030 in October.

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The November 2011 unemployment rate is down almost a percentage point from the November 2010 rate of 12.8 percent when 1,840 people were out of work.

However, the labor force was smaller last year, with only 14,930 last November. This year’s statistics report the labor force for November has grown to 16,660. The labor force is figured using the number of employed and unemployed people in the county.

Four years ago, in November 2007, the rate was 7.5  percent. But, the current rate is still lower than the 12.7 percent reached in November 2009.

In comparison to the six surrounding counties, the Panola unemployment rate was higher than Yalobusha (10.3), Tallahatchie (9.7), Tate (9.1) and Lafayette (7.5), but less than Quitman (11.8), and Tunica (9.1).
Initial unemployment insurance claims went up over the month while continuing claims went down. Initial claims were 172 in November compared to 167 in October. Continuing claims went down from 1,993 in October to 1,713 in November.

Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for November 2011 was 9.7 percent, decreasing seven-tenths of a percentage point from the October rate of 10.4 percent. When compared to the year ago rate of 9.8 percent, the rate decreased one-tenth of one percentage point.

Over the month, the number of unemployed decreased 11,100, while the employed total decreased 2,600.
The Nation’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2011 at 8.2 percent was down three-tenths of a percentage point from the prior month, and 1.1 percentage points from the year ago rate of 9.3 percent.

For the month of November, only twenty-four counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 9.7 percent.

Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of Novemberat 6.1. Five counties reported rates greater than 15.0 percent. Clay County had the highest unemployment rate for November at 18.6.