State sets record low unemployment, Lowndes unemployment more than 4 percent better than last year

Published 10:40 am Friday, November 17, 2017

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The state of Alabama set a new record low preliminary unemployment rate in October at 3.6 percent, according to Governor Kay Ivey. And while Lowndes County had the third highest preliminary October rate in the state at 6.4 percent, up .3 percent from September’s revised rate of 6.1 percent, it was a 4.3 percent improvement over the revised October rate from a year ago.

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According to the Alabama Department of Labor, counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County highest at 8.9 percent, Clarke County second at 6.6 percent, Lowndes County third at 6.4 percent. Dallas and Green fourth at 5.8 percent and Perry fifth at 5.7 percent.

Lowndes’ October 2016 revised rate was 10.7 percent.

Jim Byard Jr., economic development director for the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission, recently attributed the improvement in Lowndes County unemployment rates to the overall improvement of the economy, which he said is lifting all of the counties.

He also pointed to the pending opening of a Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store in Lowndes County and the expansion of Koch Foods on the horizon.

A new Love’s is expected to open in Lowndes County’s Hope Hull area in mid-December.

Ivey announced Friday, Nov. 17 that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, down from September’s previous record-tying rate of 3.8 percent, and well below October 2016’s rate of 6.1 percent.

“We had great news last month, when we announced that Alabama’s unemployment rate had tied its lowest ever.  Today, our news is even bigger! Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped even more, registering a new record low!” said Governor Ivey.  “What we are doing is working, and as a result, the people of Alabama are working.”

“Additionally, today’s numbers show that we currently have the fewest number of unemployed people in history, measuring some 77,000; but that means 77,000 Alabamians, men and women, are still without work. I will persist in my efforts to put every Alabamian who wants to work in a good paying job by recruiting high-wage, high-skill industries to Alabama.”

October’s rate represents 77,358 unemployed persons, the lowest number ever recorded, compared to 82,562 in September and 133,875 in October 2016. 2,079,576 people were counted as employed, compared to 2,069,094 in September and 2,046,861 in October 2016.

“As we continue to see our unemployment rate drop, Alabama’s businesses continue to hire and support real jobs in our economy,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “Our wage and salary employment figures are currently at the third highest level since we began keeping records.  There are nearly 30,000 more jobs today than there were in October of last year. Through job fairs and the services provided at our Career Centers located throughout the state, we are helping employers find the employees they are looking for.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 29,400, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,100), the professional and business services sector (+6,400), and the manufacturing sector (+6,100), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in October by 6,500.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,300), the education and health services sector (+2,700), and the government sector (+2,200), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.6 percent, Marshall, Madison, Lee, and Cullman Counties at 3.0 percent, and Tuscaloosa and Elmore Counties at 3.1 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster, Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.4 percent, Hoover at 2.6 percent, and Madison at 2.7 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard and Selma at 6.5 percent, Anniston at 4.9 percent, and Bessemer at 4.8 percent.