Unemployment rate improves in all 67 counties, but Lowndes remains third highest in state

Published 11:01 am Friday, March 24, 2017

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Preliminary numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday, March 24 show the February unemployment rate improved in all 67 counties from January, and the number of people working in Alabama is the highest in eight years, but despite a nearly 2 percent improvement, Lowndes County’s unemployment remains third highest in the state.

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Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced on Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is 6.2 percent,

down from January’s rate of 6.4 percent, and above January 2016’s rate of 6.0 percent. Also, February’s rate represented 2,067,042 people working, up from January’s count of 2,053,837, and significantly higher than February 2016’s count of 2,036,314.

“We are once again announcing that we have more people working in Alabama than have been

over the last eight years,” said Washington. “The labor force continues to grow, showing that

jobseekers have confidence in our economy and are willing to enter the job market. Wage and

salary employment is fewer than 20,000 jobs away from reaching the two million-mark

milestone. We aren’t exactly where we need to be yet, but we are surely getting there.”

Alabama’s civilian labor force measured 2,203,868 in February, the highest it’s been since June

2011, when it measured 2,202,354.

“All of our counties and metros saw their rates drop this month, and 57 counties and 11 metros

saw over-the -year declines,” Washington said.

According to the numbers released Friday, Lowndes preliminary February 2017 unemployment rate of 10.7 percent was a 1.9 percent improvement over January 2017’s revised rate of 12.6 percent and .4 percent better than February 2016’s revised rate of 11.1 percent.

The highest February preliminary unemployment rates in the state were Wilcox County number one at 14.9 percent, Clarke County number two at 11.2 percent, Lowndes County number three at 10.7 percent, Greene County number four at 10.6 percent and Perry County number five at 10.0 percent.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.5 percent, Elmore County at 5.0 percent, and Madison and Lee Counties at 5.2 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 4.0 percent, Homewood at 4.1 percent, and Hoover at 4.3 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 10.8 percent, Prichard at 10.3 percent, and Bessemer at 8.5 percent.