By CHRIS WILSON
Monroe County’s unemployment rate jumped higher during the past two months of January and February, according to figures released by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDEC).
The county’s jobless rate is at 13.8 percent, up nearly two percent over the December 2008 rate.
The county ranks 70th among 82 counties in terms of unemployment. The rate increased for all 82 counties in the state for the month.
The lowest unemployment rate for February was reported in Lamar and Rankin Counties at 6.0 percent, followed by Lafayette County at 6.3 percent and Scott County at 6.5 percent.
The highest rates of joblessness were reported in Holmes County at 20 percent, Noxubee County at 19.3 percent and Jefferson at 18.2 percent.
The state’s unemployment rate as a whole stands at 9.2 percent, unchanged from January’s rate. The national rate has risen in February to 8.9 percent from 8.5 percent in January.
The statewide rate of unemployment was up more than four percent from a year ago.
Industry sectors registering job losses during the month were Construction and Manufacturing. Manufacturing has had the biggest loss in jobs in the state over the past year.
For the month of February, 47 counties in the state registered unemployment rates in the double-digit range for the moth, with nine counties reporting rates higher than 15 percent.