Warren County jobless rate climbs, tops state average

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unemployment in Warren County spiked more than a percentage point in December, continuing, as it has during most of the national recession, to follow a statewide trend for the final month of 2009.

Local joblessness was 10.6 percent during the month, up from 9.3 percent in November, according to totals released Wednesday by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Statewide, the rate stood at 10.3 percent, up from 9 percent for November. Adjusted for seasonal factors in the work force, the state’s rate becomes 10.6 percent.

Plant closures announced earlier in the year at SpecFab and Shell Lubricants took effect by year’s end, possibly affecting the totals, said Terry Hodges, office manager for the Vicksburg WIN Job Center on Monroe Street.

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“No good news to report. We now have 63 counties with double-digit unemployment,” Hodges said.

For all counties in the United States, rates are based on people actively seeking work in comparison with the total number in the work force. The local worker pool was 22,590 in December, up from 22,290 in November. However, the total number of those employed grew by 20 from 20,170 to 20,190 during the year’s final month, according to MDES.

The state reported job losses in the government and professional and business services.

Rankin County posted the lowest unemployment, at 6.8 percent, up from 5.9 percent in a month. Clay and Holmes counties recorded the state’s highest unemployment in December, both at 19 percent. Claiborne and Jefferson counties stood at 17.9 percent and 18 percent.

Nationally, the jobless rate lowered slightly to 9.7 percent from 10 percent in November. On Wednesday, the Labor Department reported new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 470,000 last week, a smaller dip than economists expected.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at dbarrett@vicksburgpost.com