Foreclosures and mortgage defaults in Neshoba County rose slightly during 2012 after dropping significantly in 2011.

The number of foreclosures increased by two in 2012, while defaults were up by eight, according to documents obtained from the Chancery Clerk's office.

From January through December of 2012, there were 10 foreclosures in Neshoba County, signified by the filing of trustee's deeds. There were eight in 2011 and 17 in 2010.

There were 33 defaults on mortgages from January through December 2012, signified by the filing of substitute trustee deeds. While this represents an increase from the 25 in 2011, it is still far short of the 45 in 2010.

A foreclosure is when an owner's right to a property is terminated. A default is when someone is not making a mortgage payment, signified by the filing of a substitute trustee's deed.

Realtor Mike Tinsley said calendar year 2012 was a better, more successful year for home sales, particularly the last quarter.

He said appreciation levels on homes remained consistent throughout the year.

Tinsley predicted a slow down in the number of foreclosures in Neshoba County in 2013.

"It's kind of getting back to normal," he said.

Wells Fargo, the country's biggest mortgage lender, reported record earnings for the fourth quarter on Friday, beating analysts' expectations for both profit and revenue. The bank made more loans, gained deposits and enjoyed above-average returns from the investments made by its private equity business.

Wells Fargo said it funded $125 billion in mortgages in the fourth quarter, up from $120 billion in the same period a year ago. However, that was down from the record of $139 billion it did in third quarter. Mortgage applications were down over both the year and the quarter.

Meanwhile, Neshoba County continues to have among the lowest unemployment rates in Mississippi, reporting 6 percent in November, the lowest reported since December 2008, when it was 5.9 percent.

The county saw its labor force drop from 13,030 to 12,990 in November.

Mississippi payrolls rose to 1.09 million in November, up about 4,000 jobs from October when adjusted to cancel out seasonal differences.

It was the third straight month that payrolls have risen, and it's the first time in 2012 that Mississippi has shown payroll job growth compared to the previous year, nosing ahead of November 2011's total by less than 1,000 jobs.

Neshoba County's November jobless rate was the eighth lowest of the state's 82 counties.

For calendar year 2012 to-date, Neshoba County's lowest jobless rate was seen in November. The highest was in January, when it was 8.2 percent.