While new claims for unemployment assistance continue to be above normal, the local unemployment rate continues on a steady path.

The county had 170 new claims for unemployment insurance during the month of December, compared to 81 a year ago, and 929 continued claims, compared to 262 a year earlier, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security reported.

The county’s unemployment rate for the month registered at 4.7 percent, ranking 10th among the 82 counties. The rate is up a couple of ticks from 4.5 percent a month earlier and a year earlier.

Across Mississippi, rates ranged from 3.7 percent in Rankin County to 17.4 percent in Jefferson County. Tishomingo County ranked 5th at 4.4 percent; Prentiss County 11th at 4.8 percent; and Tippah County also 11th at 4.8 percent.

Alcorn County had 760 categorized as unemployed for the month, compared to 730 a year ago, and 15,450 employed, nearly unchanged over the year.

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2020 at 5.9 percent was unchanged over the month. Compared to the December 2019 rate of 5.2 percent, the rate increased seven-tenths of a percentage point. The number of unemployed decreased 200 over the month, while the employed total decreased 7,900 from the prior month.

Mississippi’s not seasonally adjusted non-farm employment increased 2,500 over the month but was 16,200 lower than one year ago.

Across the nation, unemployment rates were lower in December in 19 states, higher in 12 states and the District of Columbia, and stable in 19 states, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Forty-five states and the District had jobless rate increases from a year earlier; one state had a decrease; and four states had little or no change. The national unemployment rate, 6.7 percent, was unchanged over the month but was 3.1 percentage points higher than in December 2019.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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