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Mississippi unemployment rate down slightly at 12.3%

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(Image from Mississippi Department of Employment Security)

Mississippi’s unemployment rate was 12.37% for the week ending July 4, down nearly 1% from the previous week. That rate translates into more than 137,000 unemployed Mississippians.

New unemployment claims rose slightly for the week ending July 11, to 11,795. Those numbers remain about 10 times the average weekly new claims before the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in Mississippi. Since the week of March 14 (the first case was confirmed March 11) 373,405 Mississippians have filed new claims for state unemployment benefits.

Continued claims also rose slightly for the week ending July 4, to more than 142,000.

Mississippi did not report any new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims for the week ending July 11; however, the state reported nearly 57,000 continued claims for the week ending June 27. PUA is a federal program extended to people who do not qualify for state unemployment programs including contract and gig workers. More than likely, this was a reporting oversight, not that no new claims were filed that week for the program.

Another federal program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, added more than 4,000 people for the week ending June 27, the most recent data available. That program, which adds $600 to filers’ weekly state unemployment benefits, is scheduled to expire at the end of July.

Between state unemployment and the two federal programs, the state has seen almost 422,000 people filing for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 recession began.

Nationally, another 1.3 million Americans filed new unemployment claims in the week ending July 11. The unemployment rate was 11.9% for the week ending July 4. That rate was down slightly from the prior week, but still higher than at any time since World War II.

More than 18 million Americans are out of work.

COVID-19

Alabama’s coach Nick Saban and Greg Byrne test positive for COVID-19

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Nick Saban (photo courtesy UA Athletics)

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne have tested positive for COVID-19.

“I found out earlier this afternoon that I had tested positive for COVID-19,” Saban said Wednesday in statement from the university. “I immediately left work and isolated at home. At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID, and I have taken another PCR test to confirm my diagnosis.”

Byrne also released a statement Wednesday.

“Today, I received notice that my COVID-19 test from this morning came back positive,” Byrne said. “Upon hearing the news, I immediately entered self-isolation and will remain at home and follow all guidelines. We’ve been diligent about mask wearing and social distancing from the start and want to continue to encourage you all to take the necessary precautions to help stop the spread of this virus for yourself and those around you.”

No. 2 Alabama is set to play No. 3 Georgia Saturday. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will fill in as interim head coach during Saban’s absence.

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Vicksburg police arrest a knife-wielding suspect for meth possession

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Joshua Lisk (photo courtesy VPD)

A knife-wielding South Carolina man was arrested Wednesday in Vicksburg.

Police officers responded to a report of a man waving a large knife in the 3300 block of Clay Street. They found that Joshua Lisk, of Westminster, South Carolina, was in possession of methamphetamine.

Lisk appeared in Vicksburg Municipal Court Wednesday on charges of meth possession. Judge Penny Lawson set his bond at $50,000 and bound him over to the Warren County grand jury.

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Ole Miss football team dealing with COVID-19 issues

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Ole Miss Rebels (photo courtesy Old Miss)

Ole Miss football is having problems with COVID-19.

After multiple sources reported the news, head coach Lane Kiffin confirmed it.

“For the first time, we are having an issue with that,” Kiffin said at a press conference. “I’m not going to get into the numbers. It’s very difficult moving people around, and we’re already beat up to from high play count Saturday versus great team.”

The Rebels are scheduled to take on the University of Arkansas Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Fayetteville, Arkansas. If the game needs to be postponed, it will have to be done by Friday.

Most of the Rebels key players, including quarterback Matt Corral and wide receiver Elijah Moore, were at practice Wednesday, a positive sign for Ole Miss. The Rebels are 1-2 and is are expected to win Saturday’s game if COVID-19 doesn’t force multiple players to sit it out.

An announcement on whether Ole Miss will play this week can be expected no later than tomorrow.

 

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