Unemployment climbs for Clay County, Golden Triangle

Staff Writer

The trend of rising unemployment continues for the Golden Triangle as 2019 comes to a close, with Clay County reporting the highest unemployment for the metropolitan area and finishing among the highest unemployment rates for Mississippi counties.

According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security’s most recent preliminary numbers, Clay County’s unemployment was reported to be 8.7% for the month of November, marking a rise of a full percentage point from the October totals, and more than a 3% spike for the same month in the previous year.

Clay County finished at 74th among Mississippi’s 82 counties, with 7,890 people currently in the labor force and 680 unemployed. November’s numbers also mark the highest unemployment has been for the month for Clay County since 2014, when unemployment was at 10.9%.

Among the primary three Golden Triangle counties, Lowndes County reported the lowest unemployment for November at 5.5%, with the county’s labor force at 25,260. The latest data reports 1,380 without work in Lowndes County.
For the county seat — Columbus — unemployment rose over the previous month to 5.9% from 5.7% in October, along with a rise of more than a percentage point from November 2018.

Oktibbeha County followed a similar trend, with unemployment rising over both the previous month and the same month a year ago, with 5.7% unemployment.

Oktibbeha’s labor force was reported to be 23,230, with 1,320 out of work.

Unemployment for Oktibbeha County is at its highest for November during the last five years reported by the MDES. However, Oktibbeha County finished in the top half of Mississippi counties, tied with five other counties at 31st.

The city of Starkville saw the same trend as its county, with unemployment rising across the board, coming in at 4.6% for November, up from 4.3% in October and 3.5% the same month last year.

Starkville’s labor force was reported to be at 12,480, with 570 people unemployed in the city. Unemployment for November in Starkville was at its highest rate since 2015, when unemployment for November was 4.9%.

Lamar County tied with Rankin County for the lowest unemployment at 4%, while Holmes (10%), Claiborne (10.6%) and Jefferson (15.6%) counties were the only counties with unemployment higher than 10%.