Despite uptick, Lowndes remains fourth highest in unemployment in state

Published 11:17 am Friday, January 20, 2017

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Despite a slight uptick, according to the latest preliminary numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor, Friday, Jan. 20, Lowndes County continues to rank fourth highest in unemployment in the state at 10.4 percent.

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According to the preliminary numbers for December, While Lowndes County’s unemployment increased .4 percent from November’s revised rate of 10 percent, it was .3 percent better than the revised rate for December 2015 of 10.7 percent.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate of 6.2 percent was also up from November’s revised rate of 5.9 percent, but below December 2015’s rate of 6.3 percent.

According to the latest preliminary numbers, Wilcox County has the highest unemployment in the state at 15.4 percent followed by Clarke County second 11.1 percent, Greene and Perry Counties third at 10.5 percent and Lowndes fourth at 10.4 percent.

Lowndes’November’s rate was .4 percent better than the revised October rate of 10.4 percent and .4 percent better than the November 2015 rate of 10.8 percent.

The Alabama Department of Labor reports that December’s rate represents 136,409 unemployed persons, compared to 128,651 in November and 134,403 in December 2015. Also, 2,066,842 people were employed in December, up from 2,066,012 in November and 2,011,475 in December 2015.

“Our unemployment rate rose in December because the labor force grew by nearly 9,000 in one month,” said Washington. “This represents the largest labor force Alabama has seen in more than five years and indicates confidence in the job market. We also surpassed last month’s employment numbers, making December the month to beat. More people were working in December than at any time during 2016! We actually haven’t seen this many people working since April 2008.”

The Alabama Department of Labor reports 2,203,251 people were counted in December’s labor force, up 8,588 from the number recorded in November. The last time the labor force measured 2,203,251 or more was in May 2011, when it measured 2,204,321.

“As far as wage and salary employment goes, we continue to experience record numbers,” said

Washington. “The economy supported the second highest number of jobs for the entire year, and this December marks our third best December over the past 12 years.”

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, over the year, wage and salary employment increased 18,600, with gains in the manufacturing sector (+8,300), the government sector (+6,600), and the financial activities sector (+4,200), among others. December’s wage and salary employment measured 1,983,600, which was lower than only November’s count of 1,991,000 for all of 2016.

“Manufacturing is leading our job growth for 2016,” continued Washington. “Manufacturing employment is at its highest level since December 2008. With wages averaging around $20 per

hour, these are jobs that are certainly bolstering our economy.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.3 percent, Elmore County at 4.8 percent and Cullman County at 4.9 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.7 percent, Homewood at 3.8 percent, and Hoover at 4.1 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 10.0 percent, Prichard at 9.9 percent and Bessemer at 9.8 percent.