Despite 1 percent increase, Lowndes unemployment improves from second to fourth highest in state

Published 10:40 am Friday, July 22, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

According to the latest numbers from the Alabama Department of Labor, Lowndes County’s preliminary unemployment rate for June increased 1 percent from May’s revised numbers, but the county’s rate actually improved from second highest in unemployment to fourth highest in the state.
According to the numbers released Friday, July 22, Wilcox County had the highest unemployment rate at 15. 1 percent, Perry County was second at 13.5 percent, Clarke County was third at 12.5 precent, Lowndes County was fourth at 11.7 percent and Dallas County came in fifth at 11.3 percent.
Lowndes unemployment was second highest in the state with a revised rate 10.7 percent in May. However, the preliminary June rate of 11.7 percent was actually 1 percent better than the 12.7 percent revised rate of June 2015.
Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted June unemployment rate is 6.0 percent, unchanged from May’s revised rate of 6.0 rate, and below June 2015’s rate of 6.1 percent.
According to the Alabama Department of Labor, June’s rate represents 130,349 unemployed persons, compared to 132,019 in May and 130,604 in June 2015.
“Our unemployment rate continues to hold steady,” said Washington. “Even though there was no change in the rate over the month, nearly 34,000 more people are working now than last year, and fewer people are unemployed both over the month and over the year, and those numbers are important to most Alabamians.”
The number of people counted as employed in June was 2,045,497, up from 2,011,654 in June 2015 (seasonally adjusted).
“Employers in Alabama are also reporting that they are supporting more jobs,” continued Washington. “There are almost 15,000 more jobs this year than there were last year, and we haven’t seen levels of wage and salary employment this high in nearly eight years. Our employers are hiring and putting Alabamians to work.”
Wage and salary employment measured 1,972,400 in June, representing a yearly increase of 14,900. Yearly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+4,800), the manufacturing sector (+3,900), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,500), among others.
The last time wage and salary employment was at or above 1,972,400 was October 2008, when it measured 1,981,300.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.8 percent, Elmore County at 5.3 percent, and Cherokee County at 5.4 percent.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.7 percent, Hoover at 4.5 percent, and Homewood at 4.7 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 12.4 percent, Prichard at 11.7 percent, and Bessemer at 9.5 percent.