County unemployment rises in June

By CLAY MCFERRIN,

June unemployment rose to 8.5% in Tallahatchie County, an increase of 1.6% from the revised May figure of 6.9%, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security announced last week.

The MDES, which compiles the state’s employment data, noted that 430 members of the county’s 5,080-person labor force were unemployed in June.  The labor force consists of everyone who has a job or is actively looking.

In May, 350 of 5,130 labor force members were jobless.

The county’s June jobless rate was 1.8% higher than the 6.7% figure recorded in June 2019, when 360 of 5,450 available laborers age 16 and older did not find work.

Due to fallout from COVID-19, June unemployment was up markedly in Mississippi, MDES figures  for the month show.

The Mississippi unemployment rate stood at 9.7% in June, a steep increase of 3.3% from the 6.4% rate of June 2019, but an improvement of seven-tenths of a percent from May’s 10.4%.

There were signs that the pandemic cloud was lifting from the state’s job market.

In June, there were 117,800 Mississippians unemployed, down from 125,900 in May.

MDES figures show that initial unemployment insurance claims fell from 103,087 in May to 70,171 in June. Continued claims dropped from 947,444 in May to 657,190 by June.

Nationally, the employment picture also improved, with the jobless rate falling from 13.0% in May to 11.2% in June.

The number of unemployed Americans dropped from 20,514,000 in May to 18,072,000 by June — still about three times the 6,292,000 who were unemployed in June 2019.

However, the picture was mixed among counties in the vicinity of Tallahatchie, with five of the seven adjacent counties posting a higher unemployment rate in June than they had experienced during the month of May.

The June unemployment rates for those adjacent counties are as follows, with May figures in parenthesis:

» Coahoma, 14.1  (14.8)

» Grenada, 8.7  (8.1)

» Leflore, 12.6  (10.9)

» Panola, 12.4  (11.6)

» Quitman, 12.6  (11.7)

» Sunflower, 11.5  (9.4)

» Yalobusha, 10.4  (10.5)

Jefferson County had the state’s highest jobless rate of 20.3% in June.  Smith County posted the lowest and best unemployment rate of 6.1%.