Lowndes unemployment continues to rank third highest in state

Published 10:09 am Friday, March 25, 2016

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By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Lowndes County unemployment continues to rank third highest in the state, according to the latest numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor Friday, March 25.
While Lowndes’ preliminary February 2016 unemployment rate of 11.4 percent showed improvement of .6 percent, down from a revised rate of 12.0 percent in January, it was .4 percent higher than February 2015’s revised rate of 11.0 percent and was third highest in the state following Wilcox County at 15.4 percent and Clarke County at 12.5 percent.
Following Lowndes were Greene County with a preliminary February rate of 10.8 percent and Perry County at 10.1 percent.
Lowndes dropped from second highest in the state to fourth highest in December with a revised rate of 10.7 percent. But the county climbed to third highest in January 2016 with a revised rate of 12.0 percent, which was also .4 percent higher than the January 2015 revised rate of 11.6 percent.
Governor Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is 6.2 percent.
“The momentum that we are seeing in our employment numbers continues to be encouraging,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Our mission to provide all Alabamians with a job remains my top priority. The growth that we are consistently seeing, combined with the regular announcements of new jobs coming to the state, is helping us to achieve that goal. Our economy is supporting 106,900 more jobs now than when I took office in January 2011. But there’s still a lot of work to do, and I remain committed to doing that work.”
“No change in the unemployment rate is good news this month,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “We continue to see high numbers of employed people, which again is topping two million. We have consistently seen over two million employed people for 21 straight months. Additionally, a high number of people are in the workforce, which tells us that people are confident in the labor market. People haven’t shown this level of confidence in the job market in over three years.”
According to the CPS (current population survey), the number of people counted as employed in February was 2,033,386 (seasonally adjusted). The last time this many people were counted as employed was in August 2008, when there were 2,042,834 employed.
There were 2,167,723 people counted in the labor force in February. The last time this many people were in the labor force was in October 2012, when the number measured 2,167,852.
“Wage and salary employment continues to show growth as well,” Washington added. “Like January, this is our best February since 2008, with a job growth percentage of 1.25 precen – the second highest growth percentage of the last five years.”
Wage and salary employment measured 1,946,300 in February. The last time it was at this level or higher during February was in 2008, when it measured 1,994,500.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 24,100, with gains in the education and health services sector (+5,900), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,400), and the professional and business services sector (+5,000), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in February by 12,300. Monthly gains were seen in the education and health services sector (+3,000), the professional and business services sector (+2,900), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+2,800), among others.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.7 percent, Elmore County at 5.4 percent, and Lee County at 5.5 percent.

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