Region’s jobless rate rises to 12.4 percent

While there may be some signs of economic recovery, economists say that unemployment will keep rising before any noticeable improvement will occur as the economy moves slowly out of recession.
That held true in Northeast Mississippi in July, when the jobless rate for the 16-county region jumped to 12.4 percent.
The area’s unemployment rate has been at 11 percent or higher in six months this year, but July’s estimates by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security are the highest yet.
In July 2008, the region’s jobless rate was 9.9 percent.
Even counties with historically low unemployment rates posted higher rates. Lafayette County’s 9.9 percent figure was the lowest in the region and the only one under double digits.
Clay County jumped to 20.1 percent, the third-highest in the state. MDES said the number of unemployed in the county increased by nearly 300 people in the month. Earlier in the month, Navistar laid off 275 workers from its armored vehicle plant in West Point.
As a whole, Northeast Mississippi shed nearly 1,700 jobs from June to July, according to MDES.
The labor force – the number of people employed or seeking employment – stayed relatively flat at 217,780 in July, compared to 217,900 a month earlier. The number of employed dropped, from 192,360 to 190,570.
Thirteen of the region’s counties recorded higher rates in July than in June. Calhoun and Marshall saw slightly lower rates while Benton remained unchanged.
Statewide, the unemployment rate in July was 10.5 percent, compared with 9.9 percent in June and 8.0 percent in July 2008. Sixty-one of the state’s 22 counties had double-digit rates in July.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal