Lowndes unemployment improves, but still second highest in state

Published 9:30 am Friday, May 20, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

“Every aspect of this month’s jobs data reflects positively on Alabama’s economy,” Governor Robert Bentley said Friday. But while Lowndes County’s preliminary April unemployment rate of 10.2 percent continues to show improvement, according to the numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor, it also continues to rank second highest in the state behind Wilcox County at 12.8 percent.

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Lowndes ’ preliminary April unemployment rate was .9 percent  better than a revised March rate of 11.1 percent  and was .4 percent better than the 10.6 percent  revised numbers for April 2015.

Wilcox also led the state with the highest unemployment rate of 13.8 percent, according to revised March numbers. And Lowndes also came in second highest in March at 11.1 percent. But that was.3 percent better than the revised February rate of 11.4 percent and .3 percent better than a revised March 2015 rate of 11.1 percent.

Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, down from March’s rate of 6.2 percent.

“More people are working and more jobs are filled. In fact, we are supporting almost 100,000 more jobs now than we were at the height of the recession.  We are continuously working to keep that momentum going, with events like last week’s huge job fair in Birmingham that drew more than 5,000 job seekers,” Bentley said.

“This is a promising month for us,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “There are more people looking for work and more people working this month than there have been all year.  The number of people who are unemployed is down.  We continue to see growth in our wage and salary employment, surpassing economists’ growth expectations by nearly 8,000 jobs only four months into the year.”

Wage and salary employment increased in April by 16,500. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,600), the professional and business services sector (+3,500), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+2,100), among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 25,400, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+7,400), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,900), and the education and health services sector (+5,200), among others.

All major Alabama cities, metro areas, and 67 Alabama counties experienced drops in the unemployment rate.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4 percent, Elmore County at 4.5 percent, and Cherokee County at 4.6 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox at 12.8 percent, Lowndes at 10.2 percent, Clarke at 9.9 percent,  Greene at  9.6 percent and Monroe at  9.0 percent.