Lowndes unemployment is third highest in the state

Published 11:17 pm Friday, October 21, 2016

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Lowndes County’s preliminary September unemployment rate of 10.3 percent, released Friday, remains unchanged from its revised August rate. However, in a strange twist, the county’s unemployment rank actually went from fourth highest to third highest in the state.
According to the Alabama Department of Labor, Lowndes County’s September 2016 preliminary unemployment rate of 10.3 percent remained unchanged from August’s 2016 revised unemployment rate and was 1.4 percent better than the revised September 2015 rate of 11.7 percent.
However, while the August 2016 revised unemployment rate of 10.3 percent was .1 percent better than the previously reported preliminary August rate of 10.4 percent, the 10.4 percent rate was fourth highest in the state when it was reported.
The 10.3 percent preliminary September unemployment rate reported Friday is third highest.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate is 5.4 precent, unchanged from August’s rate, and significantly lower than September 2015’s rate of 6.1 percent.
“Our unemployment rate held steady this month, remaining at its lowest point during my administration, which also happens to be its lowest point in more than eight years,” Bentley said. “We are continuing to see record low numbers of people who are unemployed, with September’s count marking the second lowest number of unemployed since 2008. We are continuing our efforts to ensure that every Alabamian who wants a job has one, and these numbers show we are having success in that endeavor.”
According to the numbers released by Bentley, the last time that the unemployment rate was at or below 5.4 percent was in May 2008, when it was 5.2 percent. September’s count of 117,125 unemployed persons is slightly higher than August 2016’s count of 116,296, which marked the lowest number of unemployed since May 2008, when the number was 113,343.
“Another highlight from this month’s jobs numbers is the fact that our manufacturing employment is nearing pre-recession levels,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “Manufacturing has long been a strong industry in Alabama, and most of these jobs have higher than average salaries. August and September of this year are nearing our highest levels of manufacturing employment.”
According to the numbers released, manufacturing employment measured 263,000 in September and 263,500 in August. The last time this number was higher was in December 2008, when it measured 271,300.
Over the year, wage and salary total employment increased by 18,000, with gains in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,200), the education and health services sector (+4,500), and the manufacturing sector (+4,300), among others.
Wage and salary total employment increased in September by 300. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,800), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,000), and the education and health services sector (+300), among others.
“On a more local level, 11 out of 12 metro areas and 87 percent of Alabama’s counties saw either no change or an improvement in their rates since last year,” continued Washington.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Lee and Elmore Counties at 4.8 percent, and Cullman and Cherokee Counties at 4.9 percent.
Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 13.4 percent, Clarke County at 10.5 percent, Lowndes County at 10.3 percent, Perry County at 9.8 percent and Greene County at 9.4 percent.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Vestavia at 3.6 percent, Hoover at 4.1 percent, and Alabaster and Madison at 4.3 percent.
Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Bessemer at 10.1 percent, Selma at 9.9 percent, and Prichard at 9.4 percent.

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