Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unemployment dips two points since 2011

Unemployment is down over the month of August for Panola County, Mississippi and the nation as students leave the labor force and return to school.

The latest figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Services show 10.3 percent unemployment for the county in August, down by more than a point and a half from 11.9 percent in July. Last year the August rate was 13.1 percent.

The MDES estimates show that 220 more people were employed in August, 14,220 versus 14,000 in July. The labor force in the county dropped by 80 people from July to August to 15,840.

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

Just three years ago in August 2009, the unemployment rate was 12.1 percent. And, just two years before that in August 2007, the rate was 7.2 percent.

In comparison to the six surrounding counties, Panola unemployment rate was less than Tunica (13.4) and Quitman (11.8), but higher than Tallahatchie (9.9), Tate (10.6), Yalobusha (9.1) and Lafayette (6.5).

Initial unemployment insurance claims for August (176) were higher than July (159).
Continuing claims fell from 2,031 in July to 1,409 in August. That is less than a year ago when there were 185 initial claims and 1,908 continuing claims.

Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for August was 8.5 percent, decreasing 1.7 percentage points from July’s rate of 10.2 percent. When compared to the year ago rate of 10.7 percent, the rate decreased 2.2 percentage points. Over the month, the number of unemployed decreased 24,800, while the employed total increased 1,000.

The nation’s unadjusted unemployment rate for August at 8.2 percent was down four-tenths of a percentage point from the prior month, and nine-tenths of a percentage point from the year ago rate of 9.1 percent.

For the month of August, only twenty-six counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 8.5 percent. Unemployment rates decreased in all eighty-two counties. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month at 5.0 percent.

Four counties reported rates greater than 15.0 percent. Clay County had the highest unemployment rate for August at 16.4 percent.