Lowndes unemployment is fifth highest in state

Published 11:33 am Friday, July 21, 2017

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

While Lowndes County’s June preliminary unemployment rate of 9 percent is 1.7 percent higher than May’s revised rate of 7.3 percent, according to the Alabama Department of Labor, the county’s state rank in unemployment actually improved from third highest to fifth highest.

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The county’s preliminary May unemployment of rate, which was reported one-tenth of a percent worse at 7.4 percent than May’s revised rate, was third highest in the state at the time.

According to June’s preliminary rates released by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday, Wilcox County was highest in unemployment at 13.5 percent, Clarke was second highest at 10.6 percent, Perry was third highest at 10.2 percent, Dallas was fourth highest at 9.3 percent and Lowndes was fifth highest at 9 percent.

Lowndes’ June preliminary rate of 9 percent was 2.2 percent better than June 2016’s revised rate of 11.2 percent and.3 3 percent better than January 2017’s revised rate of 12.6 percent.

Toward helping to further reduce Lowndes County’s unemployment, a six-week Ready to Work program for 18 to 30-year-olds was offered in Hayneville this summer. The program, which began on May 30th, was offered through Wallace Community College Selma and funded by South Central Alabama Development Commission (SCADC) with assistance from the Lowndes County Commission.

Tucson Roberts, an economic development consultant with the SCADC worked with Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd on the program. Also involved were Wallace Community College Selma and the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission through its representative at the time, Gary Faulkner of The Faulkner Group, and the Alabama Department of Commerce.

This year, the program providing free job skills and pre-employment training. was taken out of the community college in Selma and brought to the Rural Institute for Technology Education (RITE) Center next to Head Start Headquarters.

Tyson Howard, executive director of the SCADC said when a study of Lowndes County economic development was made, it was realized that many manufacturing jobs were being filled by out of county residents.

“We realized that we had a lot of young adults, 18-19, 24-25 years-old, who were not going to college, weren’t employed or in military service,” he said.

Howard said it was decided to get those young adults training to help them be able to apply for jobs and become employed.

Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted June unemployment rate is 4.6 percent, down from May’s rate of 4.9 percent and significantly lower than June 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, June’s rate represents 100,376 unemployed persons, compared to 107,223 in May and 125,000 in June 2016. 2,077,275 people were counted as employed in June, down slightly from May’s count of 2,088,502, but well above June 2016’s count of 2,040,370.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.8 percent, Elmore, Cullman, and Baldwin Counties at 4.3 percent and Marshall County at 4.5 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.2 percent, Hoover at 3.6 percent and Homewood at 3.7 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard and Selma at 10.1 percent, Anniston at 7 percent and Mobile and Bessemer at 6.5 percent.