State hits new record Low unemployment, Lowndes adds new jobs but third highest

Published 9:47 am Friday, December 22, 2017

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday, Dec. 22 that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate set a new record low of 3.5 percent. And while Lowndes County is adding about 70 new jobs with the recent opening of a Love’s Travel Stop, the county ranks third highest in unemployment in the state, according to the Alabama Department of Labor’s preliminary November numbers.

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While Lowndes County unemployment ticked up slightly from October’s revised rate of 6.3 percent to a preliminary November unemployment rate of 6.4 percent, the county’s unemployment rate is 3.7 percent better than the revised November 2016 rate of 10.1 percent.

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

 

Counties with the highest November preliminary unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.3 percent, Clarke County at 6.7 percent, Lowndes at 6.4 percent, Perry at 6.3 percent and Greene at 6.1 percent. Dallas County has a preliminary November unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

 

The new Love’s in the Hope Hull area at 1127 Tyson Road (Interstate 65, Exit 158) officially opened for business on Thursday, Dec. 14, adding approximately 70 new jobs to Lowndes County.

 

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Carnell McAlpine said, “I’m hoping that half or more of those jobs will really be Lowndes County residents. And additionally, it is going to increase our tax base… I’m sure at least $300,000 or $400,000 per year with sales.”

Jim Byard Jr., executive director of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission said the new Love’s means jobs, sales and fuel for Lowndes County. And he said, “The sales tax is a direct benefit to every citizen in Lowndes County whether they ever set foot in that Love’s or not because that money goes into the coffers of the Lowndes County Commission and helps run county government… provide for the sheriff’s department and the roads department.”

According to the Alabama Department of Labor., the state’s 3.5 percent is down from October’s previous record setting rate of 3.6 percent, and well below November 2016’s rate of 6.2 percent.

November’s rate represents 75,807 unemployed persons, also a new record low, compared to 77,231 in October and 136,135 in November 2016. More people were counted as employed in November, with 2,087,667 people working, up from 2,079,720 in October, and 40,152 more than in November 2016, when 2,047,515 were counted as employed.

“It was just last month when we reached the extraordinary milestone of breaking all previous unemployment rate records, but now just a month later the trend continues and we have once again broken those records.” Ivey said.  “This continued historic decline in our unemployment rate, coupled with the fact that Alabama’s businesses are employing more Alabamians than ever before, shows that we are truly moving forward and proving to everyone that Alabama is a great place to live and do business.”

“We have 30,500 more jobs now than we did last year, over 40,000 more people are working, and the number of unemployed has dropped by over 60,000 from last year –  the fewest number of people counted as unemployed in Alabama history!  We will continue our work to ensure that any Alabamian who wants a job, can find one,” Ivey continued.

“Our construction employment, currently measuring 91,500, is at one of its highest levels in more than eight years,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “Construction employment is an indicator of economic stability, and we have seen a steady increase in construction employment for most of this year.  Additionally, our manufacturing employment is at its highest level in nearly nine years, nearing 2008 levels, which are pre-recessionary in Alabama.”

“All 67 counties experienced significant drops in their unemployment rates over the year,” continued Washington.  “Wilcox County, which traditionally has the highest unemployment rate in the state, has seen its rate drop by 5.7 percentage points since last year.  2017 marks the first time in a decade that all counties’ unemployment rates have been in the single digits.”

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.4 percent, Homewood at 2.5 percent and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.6 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.6 percent Prichard at 6.5 percent and Anniston and Bessemer at 4.9 percent.