Despite slight uptick, Lowndes unemployment falls from second to fourth highest in state in December

Published 11:44 am Friday, January 22, 2016

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Despite a slight uptick, Lowndes County’s unemployment rate fell from second highest to fourth highest in the state according to December 2015 preliminary unemployment numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday.
The improvement rankwise follows three straight months in which Lowndes had the second highest unemployment numbers in the state.
While Lowndes unemployment numbers ticked up .1 percent to 10.7 percent in December from a revised 10.6 percent in November, the numbers were good enough to drop Lowndes from second to fourth compared to other counties in the state.
Lowndes had 10.5 percent unemployment in December 2014 according to the revised numbers.
According to the December 2015 numbers Wilcox had the highest unemployment at 15.3 percent, Clarke was second at 11.9 percent, Perry was third at 10.9 percent, and Lowndes came in fourth at 10.7 percent.
Rounding out the top 10, Greene was fifth at 10.6 percent, Monroe was sixth at 9.9 percent, Conecuh was seventh at 9.2 percent, Washington and Dallas were eighth at 9.0 percent, Choctaw and Marengo were ninth at 8.7 percent and Barbour was 10th at 8.6 percent.
David Hutchison, executive director of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission (LCEDC) and Tucson Roberts, a consultant for the South Central Alabama Development Commission (SCADC), appeared before the Lowndes County Commission recently to report on the success of a Ready To Work Program in the county. And the County Commission approved funding for a second RTW course.
Hutchison said the names of the seven people who recently graduated the Lowndes County RTW course were submitted to Daehan, Chowel, Priester’s and the Alabama Career Center.
Governor Robert Bentley announced on Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December 2015 unemployment rate is 6.2 percent.
“In January 2015, economists predicted that wage and salary employment would grow in Alabama by 33,800 in 2015, and we surpassed that number by more than 10,000 jobs,” Bentley said. “Employers are hiring in Alabama, and these numbers prove it. We will continue our efforts to recruit and add jobs to the economy in 2016.”
“Although a slight increase in the unemployment rate is never celebrated, this month’s increase is attributed to the fact that the labor force increased by nearly 10,000, while people were out looking for work, seasonal or otherwise,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “December’s labor force count was on par with the summer months, which is traditionally when the most people are searching for work. Increases in the labor force represent increased confidence in the job market.”

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