State’s unemployment lowest since 2008, Lowndes preliminary August unemployment rate improves 2.2 percent over the year

Published 2:03 pm Friday, September 16, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

While Lowndes County’s preliminary unemployment rate remained the same in August as the revised rate for July at 10.4 percent and remained fourth highest in the state, it is a 2.2 percent improvement over the revised August 2015 rate of 12.5 percent, according to the latest preliminary numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday, Sept. 16.

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And Governor Robert Bentley said Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate of 5.4 percent “is the lowest it’s been since I took office.”

“These last two months have been great for Alabama! Our unemployment rate has dropped six tenths of a percent since June,” Bentley said.

August’s rate represents 116,361 unemployed persons, compared to 123,034 in July and 129,780 in August 2015. The last time the number of unemployed persons was at or below 116,361 was May 2008, when the number measured 113,343.

“Not only did we see the unemployment rate drop, but we also saw the number of jobs our economy supports increase,” said Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Our total wage and salary employment is reaching levels that we haven’t seen in nearly eight years. Manufacturing employment is at its second highest level since 2009. These numbers show us that employers have jobs and are hiring Alabamians.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 15,600, with gains in the manufacturing sector.

“The continued improvement reaches to the county level as well,” continued Washington.

“Over the year, 66 of 67 counties experienced a drop in their unemployment rates, some

counties by more than two percentage points.”

Over the year, only Perry County experienced an increase in its unemployment rate,

rising from 10.5 percent to 10.9 percent.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Elmore

County at 4.7 percent, and Cullman County at 4.8 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 13.8 percent, Clarke County at 11.1 percent, Perry County at 10.9 percent, Lowndes County at 10.4 percent and Dallas County at 9.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.7 percent, Homewood

at 3.9 percent, and Hoover at 4 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are:

Selma at 10.2 percent, Prichard at 9.5 percent, and Bessemer at 8.9 percent.