Alcorn County has risen up the ranking of Mississippi counties for lowest unemployment rate in recent months as the pandemic continues to affect the labor force.

With a jobless rate of 5.7 percent for August 2020, Alcorn tied with Madison County for third among the 82 counties. Only Rankin County (4.7 percent) and Scott County (5.6 percent) posted lower rates.

Neighboring counties have seen a similar effect, with Prentiss and Tishomingo counties tied with Choctaw at 10th with a rate of 6.3 percent and Tippah at 13th with a rate of 6.4 percent. Jobless rates went to as much as 20.8 percent in Jefferson County.

Jobless rates are generally continuing a downward trend since peaking in April due to the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mississippi’s rate was 7.9 percent in August in seasonally adjusted numbers, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points, and also 7.9 percent in not seasonally adjusted figures, compared to 10.1 percent the previous month and 5.6 percent a year ago.

The county’s jobless rate was only marginally lower a year ago, at 5.1 percent, and is down from 7.4 percent in July. First-time claims for unemployment insurance during August numbered 213 in the county, compared to 44 a year ago, and 4,371 continued claims, compared to 275 a year ago.

Benefits paid out in the county totaled $1.33 million in August, compared to $46,778 a year earlier.

The county had 880 counted as unemployed for the month, compared to 1,140 in July and 810 a year earlier.

The national unemployment rate fell by 1.8 percentage points over the month to 8.4 percent but was 4.7 points higher than in August 2019. Rates were lower in 41 states compared to July while all 50 states had increases from a year earlier.

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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