County joblessness drops with state’s

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 24, 2009

Unemployment in Warren County followed a statewide trend and dropped by a full percentage point for August.

Local unemployment was 9.4 percent, down from 10.4 percent in July, according to figures from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Statewide, the rate stood at 9.5 percent for the month, down from 10.5 percent last month.

Nationwide, unemployment fell a tenth of a percent to 9.6 in August. The Labor Department reported fewer initial claims for unemployment benefits nationwide, though payroll reductions at larger employers continue.

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“Hopefully, it’s signs that the economy is improving,” said Terry Hodges, office manager for the Vicksburg WIN Job Center on Monroe Street.

Hodges said more openings for jobs have been reported, crediting a job order initiative by the state agency expected to continue through October. 

The local rate remained higher than a year ago, as revised figures showed Warren County at 7.6 percent in August 2008.

The downward trend in unemployment in August was also seen in counties with traditionally high rates of joblessness. Jefferson, Holmes and Clay counties had rates fall below 20 percent in August from July marks. Each had rates between 18.4 and 18.6 percent. Claiborne County had 17.1 percent, down from 19.1 percent. Sharkey and Issaquena counties came in at 9.3 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Both are down more than a point compared to July.

Rankin and Madison counties had the lowest unemployment rates, at 5.9 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. Both are down roughly a point for the month and up roughly a point from a year ago.

Industrial expansion in Warren County has picked up slowly in recent months, as two businesses have opened at the Port of Vicksburg — Five Stars Lighting Ltd., a lighting components assembler, and Vicksmetal Company, a steel processing facility which plans a formal opening Tuesday.

Small labor force cuts reportedly have continued in the past month at Cooper Lighting and LeTourneau Technologies, involving between 10 and 30 jobs, though unconfirmed by officials.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at