Region’s jobless rate drops slightly

1STOCK Computer Job Hunting EmploymentHOUSTON – Chickasaw County saw its labor force swell as people apparently came home for the holidays and sent the county’s unemployment rate back over 10 percent in December.

Chickasaw County’s jobless rate was 11 percent in December, up from the November rate of 9.6. December’s jobless rate for Northeast Mississippi was 9.6 percent, and the region’s jobless rate averaged 9.4 percent for all of 2012.

Statewide, the unemployment rate for Mississippi was 8.6 percent in December, nearly two points lower than a year ago when the December 2011 unemployment level was 10.5 percent.

The industry sectors that experienced the greatest gains over the past year were Manufacturing; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; and Professional and Business Services.

The national unemployment rate for December was 7.8 percent, which was the same as the November level.  Like the country as a whole, the Mississippi December unemployment rate was essentially unchanged from the November figure of 8.5 percent.

The stable job market at the national level has helped breathe some life back into Wall Street, which has seen the numbers indicate a growing economy.

Across Northeast Mississippi the creation of more jobs over the last quarter has helped lower the rate.

As the housing market improved nationwide, the region saw the furniture industry benefit. The industry is closely tied with how housing fares: The more homes sold, the more furniture is sold. Several manufacturers, including Southern Comfort, H.M. Richards and Washington Furniture expanded operations during the year.

Other manufacturing companies – mostly existing industries – also expanded and added jobs.

Chickasaw County ranked 54th among the state’s 82 counties.

The jobless rate for surrounding counties were:

8.0 percent – Pontotoc County.

8.8 percent – Lee County.

9.3 percent – Calhoun County.

9.3 percent – Oktibbeha County.

9.6 percent – Itawamba County.

9.9 percent – Choctaw County.

12.0 percent – Webster County.

12.2 percent – Monroe County.

18.4 percent — Clay County.

Lafayette County had the lowest unemployment rate in Northeast Mississippi at 7.3 percent. The state’s metropolitan areas of DeSoto and Rankin counties had rates of 5.9 percent each. Clay County had the worst rate in the state for the second straight month.

Chickasaw County’s estimated labor force was, 7,790 in December up from 7,660 in November with 6,930 of those with jobs and 840 job seekers out of work.

The county’s job market did shrink from a year ago when the labor force was estimated at 7,850 and 6,910 held jobs and 940 people were listed as out of work.

The state figures are based on seasonally adjusted data, which removes the effects of regular patterns such as holidays, opening and closing of school and other recurring events.

Chickasaw County figures were released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. MDES also is charged with providing services to help people obtain jobs.

“Helping Mississippians get jobs is our agency’s mission, and that means we are working every day to improve the lives of the people of our state,” said Mark Henry, MDES Executive Director.  “Innovative programs, like our new campaign to encourage employers to hire veterans called ‘Hire Mississippi Heroes’, match qualified Mississippians with employers who are eager to hire them.”

MDES offers free job posting, applicant screening and referrals and E-Verify services to businesses hiring in the state.  You can learn more about Hire Mississippi Heroes and the services provided to employers and to Mississippians looking for jobs at


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