Lowndes unemployment rate continues decline

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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Lowndes County’s unemployment rate dropped more than a full percentage point from January to February, according to figures released at the end of March from the Alabama Department of Labor.

Lowndes County’s unemployment rate for February was 10.3 percent, down from 11.4 percent in January and 14.5 percent at this time last year.

Preliminary data shows that all 67 counties experienced unemployment rate decreases in both month-over-month and year-over-year data, though Lowndes County still sits above the state average unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

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“Alabama’s February unemployment rate is very good news for our state,” said Gov. Robert Bentley.

““This month’s drop contributes to the 15 month trend we’ve seen with no increase in unemployment. Over two million Alabamians are working – the most since 2008. Our economy supported more jobs in February than it has during the same period since 2008. We also experienced a significant increase in construction jobs, which bodes well for the state’s economic health.”

Butler County’s unemployment rate for February was 7 percent, down from 7.7 percent in January and 10.3 percent in February of 2014.

Dallas County’s unemployment rate fell from 10.3 percent in January to 8.9 percent in February, continuing its decline from February 2014’s value of 12.4 percent.

The household survey indicates that 2,016,508 reported having jobs in February.  The last time employment was equal to or above this number was October 2008, when employment totaled 2,021,511.

Wage and salary employment totaled 1,930,900 in February. The last time February’s wage and salary employment was equal to or above that number was in 2008.

“Another economic indicator shows continued improvement is the number of initial unemployment compensation claims filed in February is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. This tells us that employers are laying off fewer workers than they have in decades,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “The bottom line is that nearly all of our economic indicators are trending in the right direction, and are finally either nearing or surpassing 2008 levels – when the recession truly began to hit Alabama.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4 percent, Lee County at 4.7 percent and Tuscaloosa County at 4.8 percent.

The counties with highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 13.5 percent, Greene County at 10.7 percent, Clarke County at 10.4 percent and Lowndes County.