Connect with us


Nearly 19% of Mississippi’s labor force has filed for unemployment benefits



(Image from Mississippi Department of Employment Security)

Mississippi’s unemployment picture remains bleak heading into the state’s 10th week of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Since March 11, the day the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the state, nearly a quarter million people have filed for unemployment benefits, and the majority of those folks have filed for additional benefits after their initial claim.

In March, Mississippi’s civilian labor force was 1.3 million people. The total of new claims filed represents nearly 19% of the state’s working people.

Week ending New claims
3/14/2020 1,147
3/21/2020 5,519
3/28/2020 32,015
4/4/2020 45,852
4/11/2020 45,748
4/18/2020 36,913
4/25/2020 29,906
5/2/2020 25,745
5/9/2020 22,810
Total 245,655

As in other states, Mississippi’s unemployment trust fund has taken a big hit paying out benefits. Revenue flowing into the fund from employers has also dropped as many businesses were shuttered during the COVID-19 crisis and not paying unemployment insurance.

At the beginning of 2020, the fund contained more than $710 million, according to the U.S. Treasury. In April, the state paid out over $73 million in claims and took in $3 million in revenues. At the end of April, the fund balance stood at $638 million.

Gov. Tate Reeves asked the state Legislature to restore the fund with federal relief funds during his daily COVID-19 news conference Thursday.

“The unemployment trust fund is actually filled by taxes from small businesses, so if we don’t use CARES Act funds to refill it, then the taxes on small businesses are going to go up to refill it, and this is the absolute worst time for our small businesses to get their taxes increased,” Reeves said.

Nationwide, nearly 3 million Americans filed new unemployment benefits claims in the week ending May 9, bringing the total of unemployed people in the U.S. to more than 36 million.

A big portion of those job losses were in industries such as hospitality and retail, typically low-wage positions.

Thursday, the Federal Reserve released a report detailing who has been hit hardest by the pandemic downturn. Four out of 10 of those who lost jobs were low-wage workers, the report says.

“While we are all affected, the burden has fallen most heavily on those least able to bear it,” said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in a Wednesday webcast.

“We are seeing a severe decline in economic activity and in employment, and already the job gains of the past decade have been erased,” Powell added.


Mississippi VA announces changes to its annual Wreaths Across America ceremonies



(photo courtesy MSVA)

This year, both State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries at Newton and Kilmichael will host private ceremonies for families with loved ones buried at both locations. The events will be held Saturday, Dec. 19, at 11 a.m.

“We must do our part to ensure that we keep as many Veteran families as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately, that means cutting back on the number of attendees at this year’s events”, said Mississippi VA Executive Director Stacey Pickering in a statement. “However, we feel that it is important to honor our resting heroes and allow their families to spend quality time at these hallowed grounds.”

Close to 1,260 Veterans and their families have chosen the State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries as their final resting place. For more information on both State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries, click here.

Continue Reading


‘Check Your Charity’ helps you be an informed giver



(Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

Mississippians are known for their generosity, especially during the holiday season. During the last reporting year, Mississippi charities brought in roughly $1.7 billion. As we creep closer to Christmas, it’s important to remember the wisest giver is an informed giver. The annual “Check Your Charity” campaign encourages Mississippians to check the validity of a charity or organization on the secretary of state website before making a donation.

“Our Check Your Charity campaign aligns with one of our agency’s missions to make government more transparent,” said Secretary of State Michael Watson in a release. “We are committed to providing as much information as possible to shield Mississippians from scammers, not just during the holiday season but all year-round. This has been an incredibly challenging year for many families, and I am incredibly proud of the work our Charities Division is doing to protect Mississippians’ hard-earned money.”

All charitable organizations are required to register with the secretary of state’s office and renew yearly. Certain types of organizations are exempt from registration but are nevertheless required to file a notice of exemption with the secretary’s office.

Each year, the secretary’s office publishes a “Report on Charitable Organizations in Mississippi” to provide transparency and keep citizens informed of critical financial information regarding Mississippi charities. The annual report includes information such as total revenue, fundraising expenses and charitable purpose expenses.

Click here to view the 2020 Report on Charitable Organizations in Mississippi.

Mississippians should keep the following in mind when making decisions regarding charitable donations:

  • Check your charity. Use the “Charity Search” portal on the secretary of state website to verify the charity is registered with the State. Ask questions before giving and be sure to ask for answers in writing. Legitimate charities will always welcome your inquiries.
  • Avoid pressure tactics. You do not have to make a donation immediately; take time to evaluate the information provided by the charity.
  • Watch for similar names. Many charities have similar names. Often, scam artists intentionally use names resembling those of respected groups. Take a few extra minutes to research the charity online so you can be sure your donation goes to the right place.
  • Be wary of telephone calls. Always get the name of the person calling and the exact name and spelling of the charity. Ask if the caller is a professional fundraiser, and if they are, ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity.
    • Consumer organizations recommend at least 65% of a charity’s total expenses be spent on program activities directly related to the charity’s purpose.
  • Verify mail solicitations. Be wary of mail containing novelty items you can keep “if you contribute.” Federal law states that unless you ordered the item, you can keep it without contributing.
  • Always get receipts. Receipts are vital for tax deductions and provide a tracking mechanism for donations. To be safe, always donate by credit card or check (directly to the charity).

Taking these extra steps will not only protect you, it will also ensure your donation goes to those who need it most. For more information, contact the Charities Division at 601-359-1599, or click here to send an email to one of the Charities team members.

Continue Reading


MS Health Department: Avoid social gatherings



Due to the rapidly rising burden of COVID-19 cases, excessive hospitalizations and the high risk of COVID-19 infection in the community, the Mississippi State Department of Health  is issuing the following Public Health Guidance.

All residents of Mississippi should avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the nuclear family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school or other absolutely essential activities.

MSDH recommends that all Mississippians protect themselves and their families by avoiding public or social gatherings such as the following:

  • Social events or parties
  • Family gatherings outside of the household or nuclear family
  • Weddings
  • Funerals (other than close family and preferably outdoors)
  • Sporting events
  • In-person church services

MSDH reported nearly 2,500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, with 28 in Warren County. Cases and hospitalizations are setting new records daily in Mississippi, with a new spike in deaths sure to follow.

Continue Reading

6:48am4:58pm CST
Feels like: 57°F
Wind: 5mph E
Humidity: 30%
Pressure: 30.22"Hg
UV index: 0




Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!