Lowndes unemployment rate improves, but remains fourth highest

Published 12:07 pm Friday, August 19, 2016

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By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Lowndes County’s unemployment showed a slight improvement from June to July and held steady at the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state for a second month since improving from second highest in unemployment.
According to July preliminary unemployment rate numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday, Aug. 19, Wilcox County remains highest in unemployment at 14.3 precent, Perry is second with 12. 1 percent, Clarke is third at 11.4, Lowndes is fourth at 10.4 and Dallas is fifth at 10.2 percent.
Lowndes improved 1.3 percent in July from a revised June unemployment rate of 11.7 percent. And the July rate for 2016 is 2.9 percent lower than July of 2015’s rate of 13.3 percent.
This marked the second week in a row Lowndes unemployment was fourth highest in the state, down from a previous rank of second highest in the state.
Governor Robert Bentley announced on Friday, Aug. 19 that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate is 5.7 percent, down from June’s rate of 6 percent, and below July 2015’s rate of 6.1 precent. July’s rate represents 123,095 unemployed persons, compared to 130,298 in June and 130,098 in July 2015.
“We continue to see decreases in Alabama’s unemployment rate, and increases in both of our employment measures over the year, which is a testament to the strong economic development efforts we have prioritized,” Bentley said. “We haven’t seen an unemployment rate this low in eight years. Not only did the rate decrease since last month, there are also nearly 28,000 more people working this year than there were last year.”
In July 2016, 2,039,029 people were counted as employed, up from 2,011,438 in July 2015. Additionally, 123,095 people were counted as unemployed in July 2016. The last time that number was at or below 123,095 was in June 2008, when the number of unemployed measured 118,828.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 10,000, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+3,300), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,200), the financial activities sector (+3,100), and the manufacturing sector (+3,000), among others.
“July registered the fewest number of unemployed people since 2008 and the good news also trickled down to the counties this month as well,” Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “Every county in Alabama saw its rate decrease over the month, and 66 of 67 counties saw their rates decrease over the year, some by more than two percentage points.  This is excellent news!”
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Elmore County at 4.7 percent, and Baldwin County at 4.8 percent.
Selma is the major cities with the highest unemployment rate in the state at at 11.4 percent.

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