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New unemployment claims up across the U.S. and in Mississippi

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(Image from Mississippi Department of Employment Security)

Across the U.S., more than 1.1 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending Aug. 15.

During the previous week, the number of new claims dropped below 1 million for the first time in months. The rise reported this week indicates that companies are still laying off people, and that the economic conditions caused by COVID-19 are still a big factor in the country’s unemployment picture.

Continued claims — the insured unemployment rate — did see a drop of more than 600,000. That could mean that people have gone back to work, or it could mean that some folks’ benefits have run out. Most states, including Mississippi, offer a maximum of six months in benefits per year, although federal COVID-19 aid added another 13 weeks of benefits.

The national unemployment rate stubbornly holds to more than 10%, about where it was at the peak of the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

Mississippi’s first-time claims also ticked up after declining for the four prior weeks. New claims for the week ending Aug. 15 are 6,096. An additional 2,743 new claims were filed under the federal PUA program, which provides benefits to the self-employed, contractors and gig workers generally not eligible through state unemployment programs. All told, more than 8,800 Mississippians filed new unemployment claims.

Continued claims for insured (state) benefits fell by more than 8,500 claims in the week ending Aug. 8 to 126,517. The PUA program also saw a decline of 1,483 in the week ending Aug. 1 to 51,467.

Between new and continued claims in both programs, more than 135,000 Mississippians are jobless. For the week ending Aug. 8, the state’s unemployment rate was 12.5%, the highest it has been since the end of June.

For the month of June, Warren County’s unemployment rate was 10.7%, more than double the rate for March when COVID-19 was first confirmed in Mississippi. Unemployment within the City of Vicksburg was 13.3% in June, up from 4.8% in March.

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Overnight shooting in Warren County

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Just after 1 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, a shooting victim arrived in the Emergency Room at Merit Health River Region, reportedly with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Warren County Deputies are currently investigating the shooting that reportedly occurred at the Autumn Oak Townhouses at 4920 Halls Ferry Road.  Deputies are currently on scene at the apartment complex and the emergency room at the time of this writing.

The Vicksburg Daily News will provide additional information as it becomes available.

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18-wheeler in wreck on 61 South in Warren County

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

An 18-wheeler was involved in a single vehicle crash around 6 p.m. Wednesday on U.S. Highway 61 South approximately 1 mile north of the Claiborne-Warren County line.

The truck left the roadway on the northbound side of the highway for unknown reasons.

The driver was transported to Claiborne County Hospital by private vehicle before law enforcement arrived on the scene. His condition is not known at this time.

Traffic has not been affected, but use caution in the area to allow investigators to do their jobs safely.

Warren County deputies Daniel Thomas and Ron Kinard are on the scene, and a trooper from the Mississippi State Police is on the way and will be in charge of the investigation.

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Vicksburg named Water Treatment Plant of the Year for second consecutive year

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For the second year in a row, the City of Vicksburg has received the 2020 Water Treatment Plant of the Year Award from the American Water Works Association. The award cites overall water quality, plant improvements, energy efficiency and regulatory conformance as criteria for the selection.

“Having the best water treatment plant in the State of Mississippi for two years in a row is just one more reason why people should move to Vicksburg,” said Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in a statement. “Our philosophy is to provide the best quality service at the least cost to the taxpayers. Today, we’re continuing to deliver on that promise.”

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen hired ESG Operations, Inc. in 2016 to manage and operate the city’s water treatment plant on Haining Road. The plant has received a five-star rating from the State Department of Health for the past four years and has been in 100% compliance with all regulatory agencies.

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