Lowndes May unemployment up slightly to remain second highest in state

Published 10:21 am Friday, June 17, 2016

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

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While Alabama’s preliminary May unemployment rate is unchanged at 6.1 percent, according to the Alabama Department of Labor’s latest numbers released Friday, June 17, Lowndes County’s preliminary May rate rose .5 percent  from a revised April rate of 10.2 percent  to keep the county at the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 10.7 percent.

Wilcox County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 13.5 percent.

The Lowndes County unemployment rate was, however, 1 percent lower than a revised rate of 11.7 percent in May of 2015.

Sixty-five of Alabama’s 67 counties experienced no change or a decrease in their rate over the year. Additionally, all of Alabama’s metropolitan statistical areas saw their rates decrease over the year as well.

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is unchanged from both April 2016’s rate and May 2015’s rate.

May’s rate represents 132,106 unemployed persons, compared to 133,252 in April and 130,722 in May 2015.

“These numbers show that we are continuing to see job growth in Alabama,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “We are working hard every day to put Alabamians back to work. Though this month’s percentage remains the same, more people are working today than a month ago and more people are looking for work. This is a sign that the economy is on the right track, as we continue to work diligently to bring more jobs to Alabama.”

The Civilian Labor Force (CLF), which is made up of people who are working or looking for work, increased in May both over the month and over the year. 40,548 more people are working or looking for work in May 2016 than there were in May 2015.

The number of people who are counted as employed also increased over the month and the year, with 39,164 more working this year than last.

“Our wage and salary employment continues to show marked improvement,” said Washington. “We’re less than 25,000 jobs away from reaching the two million mark, which has been among the highest number of jobs our economy has ever supported over the last 20 years. I’m optimistic that we will reach this milestone this year.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 20,000 with grains in the professional and business services section (+7,300), the educational and health services section (+5,200) and the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+4,600) among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in May by 4,200. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+1,800), the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,700), and the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+1,300).

Counties with the highest unemployment rate are Wilcox at 13.5 percent, Lowndes at 10.7 percent, Clarke at 10.6 percent, Greene at 9.9 percent and Perry at 9.7 percent.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rate are Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Elmore County at 4.8 percent and Cherokee County at 4.9 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rate are Vestavia Hills at 3.6 percent, Homewood at 3.7 percent and Alabaster and Hoover at 4.2 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rate are Selma at 10.3 percent, Prichard at 9.1 percent and Bessemer at 8.4 percent.