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Losses, gains in business, employees, all things businesses should expect this time of year

Back-to-school for business, too

More customers, less customers, losses and gains of employees are things every business deals with at one time or another, but there seems to be a particular trend that businesses can expect in the fall.

Joan Barry, statistical analyst with the Mississippi Employment Security Commission, said she would think retailers would see some impact toward the end of July through August. Specifically, she said, people spend more money on school supplies and clothes. She added that traditionally, unemployment rates seem to drop between August and September depending on when the school systems begin classes.

“I would think a fair number of students would be dropping out of the labor force although some may still stay in part-time jobs,” she said. “But the rates seem to have always dropped looking back in the ‘90s in August and September.”

That is because, she said, those on contracts, such as school cafeteria workers, go back to work at that time. Head Starts that have been closed for the summertime also open in the fall, bringing in employees.

Although there has traditionally been a drop in unemployment rates in August and September, Barry said that might not necessarily be the case this year. If layoffs occur during that same time, they may counteract the drops in the unemployment rates.

“It’s hard to predict, and this day and time it’s even harder to predict with the economy,” she said.

But whatever happens, Barry said she could not imagine students dropping out of the workforce would have a huge impact on the rate.

“I don’t see anything that it would impact significantly,” she said.

For Sue Heagy as well as a lot of other businesses though, students going off to college or decreasing their hours in part-time jobs have a direct impact on the way business is done.

Heagy, the manager of United Artists Parkway Place Theater on Lakeland Drive in Flowood, guessed she would lose about one-third of her staff this year due to everyone going back to school. And for a business where the total number of employees is around 30, that can be a major loss. But being prepared has been a help to Heagy.

“What we do is find out from everyone ahead of time when they’ll be leaving and we begin training people one at a time,” she said. “It really isn’t difficult as long as you plan ahead.”

Every year at this time, Heagy said she loses a number of employees to different universities and to parents who restrict their children’s work hours, and it is a run-of-the-mill for her to deal with. But some businesses stay away from hiring college and/or high school students altogether.

Stephanie Watson, the manager at D

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