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Clarke County keeps highest jobless rate

By Staff
from staff and wire reports
Oct. 27, 2002
Clarke County maintained a stranglehold on the highest jobless rate for Mississippi with 16.5 percent unemployment in September.
Clarke County's problems began earlier this year when Burlington Industries closed its Stonewall plant and left more than 800 people jobless. The county has struggled to bounce back.
At one point this summer, unemployment almost broke 20 percent.
Other counties in East Mississippi had rates significantly lower than Clarke. Lauderdale had 5.5 percent, Kemper had 8 percent, Newton had 5.4 percent and Neshoba County had 4.2 percent.
Statewide, Mississippi's unemployment rate fell last month from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent. However, the state's jobless rate was still higher than the national rate of 5.4 percent.
September's unemployment decline in Mississippi reflects an 8,000-person drop in the number of unemployed workers and a gain of 1,400 employed workers.
Curt Thompson, executive director of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission, said unemployment fell or was unchanged in 75 counties. Another 10 posted double-digit unemployment last month.
Tunica, Lamar, Oktibbeha and Rankin counties were tied at 3.1 percent for the lowest jobless rate in September.
Joining Clarke County with the state's highest unemployment for the month were Webster County at 14.9 percent and Benton County at 13.3 percent.
Thompson said he expects little change in unemployment figures in October from September.