Lowndes County hits 12.8 percent unemployment, but new career center offices could help

Published 4:30 pm Friday, March 28, 2014

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
According to the latest Alabama Department of Labor statistics released Friday for February 2014, Lowndes County had an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent, which ranked as the fourth highest in the state.

However, new Career Center offices now open in Hayneville and Fort Deposit may help improve those rates, according to Cleve Poole, secretary, and Thomas Ellis, chairman, of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission (LCEDC).

“In Lowndes County, there is a problem with folks being able to get out of the county to pursue a job,” said Poole.

Email newsletter signup

Poole, who is also vice-president of economic development and legal affairs for Pioneer Electric in Greenville, said, “If you’re unemployed, you probably don’t have reliable transportation to go anywhere.”

He said, “having the career center available locally makes it easier to help those motivated to work, and should help a bit in the employment rates of local Lowndes County citizens.”

He said the Career Center offers additional services, which includes training opportunities for the unskilled or under skilled workers, as well as scholarship for technical training for high school students.

Poole said, “I’d say that having the center more readily available will allow local Lowndes residents more access to information, especially if those folks don’t have access to computers or are not computer savvy to access the Career Center info off of the World Wide Web.”

He said the LCEDC will continue to work to get more jobs in the county, which he said will also help.

Ellis, who is co-owner of Priester’s Pecans in Fort Deposit, also sees the potential for positive impact from the new career center offices.

“The new Career Center office in Hayneville (and Fort Deposit) is a big step towards providing people in Lowndes County with a connection to job opportunities that will help them right now.” Ellis said.

“I encourage anyone looking for a career change or needing a job to visit there and learn how they can and will support them in their personal efforts to better themselves,” he added.

Ellis said, “With an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent in our area the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission is committed to providing workforce development for our citizens.”

Unemployment rates higher than Lowndes County were Wilcox with 16.9 percent, Perry with 13.3 percent and Dallas with 13.1 percent.

The Lowndes County unemployment rate ticked up 1 percent from January’s 11.8 percent, but was below by 1 percent February of 2013’s 13.5 percent.

In 2013, Lowndes County had an average unemployment rate of 11.9 percent.

According to Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees, Alabama’s seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is also up from January’s 6.1 percent and below the February 2013 rate of 6.6 percent.

However, Surtees said, “Although we saw an up tick in the state’s unemployment rate, we also saw an increase in the number of people working, as well as the number of people in the labor force.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby with 5.1 percent, Lee with 5.9 percent and Autauga with 6.3 percent.

According to the Department of Labor, there were 18,955 active job orders placed on JobLink in February. And The Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data showed that 48,213 job ads were placed online in February.

A Lowndes County Career Center Office will be open at the Fort Deposit Public Library on the first and third Wednesdays of each month and at the Family Guidance Center in Hayneville on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on those days.