Jobless rate lowest in six years 6/3/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jobless rate lowest in six years

By Rita Howell

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Panola County’s April unemployment rate of 9 percent was a drop of more than a point from the March rate of 10.5 percent, and marks an almost six-and-a-half-year low. The last time Panola’s rate dropped as low as 9 percent was January, 2008, according to figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. The county’s jobless rate is down significantly from the 15 percent rate reported in January, 2010.

“We have several companies adding jobs,” Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons said Monday. “We have four existing industries who have invested in equipment and added jobs.”

He named Toyoda Gosei, Inca Presswood Pallets, Insituform, and GE Aviation, which is now operating at full capacity with 482 employees.

“We’ve had consistent growth,” Simmons said. “Our unemployment numbers have been consistently going down over the past few months. It’s an indication things are going our way.”

The latest figures from the MDES show that Panola County is still well above the April state average unemployment of 6.8 percent, putting us at 62 out of 82 counties.

According to MDES, 13,060 people in Panola were employed during the month out of a labor force of 14,350 as compared to 12,950 employed during March out of a labor force of 14,480. 

Last April Panola County’s unemployment rate was 10.8

The labor force is defined by MDES as the estimated number of people eligible for work or actively seeking employment. But, those figures don’t include people who have given up looking for work or are no longer participating in the labor force.

In comparison to the six surrounding counties, the Panola unemployment rate was more than Layette (4.9), Yalobusha (8) and Tate (8), the same as Tallahatchie (9) but less than Quitman (10.7) and Tunica (12.1).

Initial unemployment insurance claims decreased from 160 in March to 98 in April. Continuing claims went down from 1,375 in March to 1,072 in April.

Initial claims in April 2013 were reported at 155, with 1,193 continuing claims reported a year ago.

Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for April 2014 was 6.8 percent, decreasing 1.2 percentage points from the previous month’s rate of 8 percent. When compared to the April 2013 rate of 8.1 percent, the rate decreased 1.3 percentage points.

The number of unemployed decreased 15,100 over the month, while the employed total increased 6,000 from the prior month. 

The nation’s unadjusted unemployment rate for April 2014 at 5.9 percent was down nine-tenths of a percentage point over the month, and 1.2 percentage points from the year ago rate of 7.1 percent.

For the month of April 2014, 28 counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 6.8 percent. Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of April at 4.2 percent followed by Scott County at 4.6 percent. 

Issaquena County had the highest unemployment rate for April at 16.3 percent followed by Clay County at 14.7 percent.