Drew County sees decrease in unemployment

The Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District announced the unemployment numbers last week showing Drew County’s unemployment claims have significantly decreased over the last several months.

The report shows the county’s unemployment rate dropped from 11.3 percent in July to 9.5 percent in October. The document also shows that Drew County has a labor force of 7,600 workers, which represents on 725 of that number are currently unemployed.

Drew County Judge Robert Akin said he hopes the trend will continue.

“Hopefully, we are making a turn for the better,” he said.

Nita McDaniel, Monticello Economic Development Commission Director, said the numbers show that people are starting to take the jobs that have remained unfilled for a while.

“We’ve had jobs here,” McDaniel said. “It may not be the job you want right now, but we’ve had employers needing employees for a while.”

McDaniel said that statistically the longer someone is without a job, the harder it is for them to find work.

“It might not be what the employee wants for the future, but it could lead to the next best thing,” McDaniel said.

She said another contribution to the unemployment decrease is that our community has not seen any significant layoffs over the course of the past year, and that new jobs have been added to the workforce.

McDaniel said Hood Packaging added 12 new full-time positions with their expansion, and there have been retail jobs added to the area as well.

She said she is also hopeful that the trend will continue.

Akin said the thing about the report is that Drew County was the only county in the 10 counties served by SAEDD district that saw a decrease from September to October. Every other county served saw an increase in their unemployment rate over the same time period.

The Advance-Monticellonian

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