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Unemployment rates rise slightly

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
April 28, 2001
East Mississippi's March unemployment rates rose slightly compared to the previous month. But statewide, unemployment rose by six-tenths of a percentage point during the same period, according to the Mississippi Employment Security Commission.
The state's unemployment rate for March stood at 5.6 percent, up from the 5.1 percent in February.
A loss of 1,800 manufacturing jobs was blamed for the statewide drop. The losses came from lumber and wood, metal products and electronic sectors of manufacturing. Job losses were also reported in the wholesale trade and service sectors of the work force.
Lauderdale County's 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March was up .7 percent from the previous month.
According to Algene McQuarters of the Meridian office of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission, manufacturing jobs have increased over the past year growing from 4,820 in March 2000 to 5,040 in March 2001. Overall, there were 37,210 civilian labor jobs in Lauderdale County according to last month's survey.
Here are the rates for other counties in The Meridian Star's circulation area:
In Clarke County, unemployment stood at 7.2 percent during March, down from .4 percent last month;
In Kemper County, unemployment stood at 9.5 percent, up from 8.4 percent in February;
In Neshoba County, unemployment stood at 5 percent, down from 5.1 percent in February;
In Newton County, unemployment stood at 6 percent, the same as last month; and
In Scott County, unemployment stood at 4 percent, the same as last month.
One major exception from the norm took place in Wayne County, where unemployment jumped from 6.9 percent in February to 14.4 percent in March.
Statewide, Lafayette County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2 percent, which was actually an increase from 1.8 percent in February. Issaquena County's 23.2 percent was the highest in March.
Unemployment was high in Sumter and Choctaw counties, according to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.
Unemployment in Sumter County stood at 9.9 percent in March, down from 10.2 percent the previous month. Meanwhile, in Choctaw County, unemployment stood at 9.6 percent, up from the 9.2 percent mark in February.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3217, or e-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.

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