Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Unemployed still double digits but fewer than 2010

Unemployment continued to drop in Panola County going from 12.2 percent in February to 11.3 percent in March.

The latest figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Services show  the number of people employed in the county increased from 13,620 in February to 13,730 in March, while the total labor pool shrunk from 15,510 in February to 15,480 in March.

The labor force is defined by MDES as the estimated number of people eligible for work or actively looking for work.

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Just two years ago, in March 2010, the unemployment rate was 13.5 percent. And, just two years before that in February 2008, the rate was 8 percent. Last year the rate was 12.7 percent.

In comparison to the six surrounding counties, the Panola unemployment rate was less than Tunica (15.1) and Quitman (12), but higher than Tate (8.6), Lafayette (6.9), and Yalobusha (9.5).

Initial unemployment insurance claims for March were up, 150, compared to February’s 118 claims. Continuing claims fell from 1,677 in February to 1,539 in March.

Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for March was 8.7 percent, decreasing eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month’s rate of 9.5 percent.

When compared to the March 2011 rate of 10.4 percent, the rate decreased 1.7 percentage points.

For the month of March, only twenty-four counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 8.7 percent. Unemployment rates decreased in all eighty-two counties.