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More people employed in Alabama than ever recorded, but Lowndes remains third highest in unemployment

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

While the most people ever recorded were employed in Alabama in December, and a recently opened new business in December is expected to add 70 new jobs to Lowndes County, Lowndes remained third highest in the state in unemployment for the month.

With about 70 new jobs coming to Lowndes County with the recent opening of a Love’s Travel Stop in the county’s Hope Hull area off Interstate 65, according to the latest Alabama Department of Labor numbers released on Friday, Jan. 19, Lowndes ranked third highest in unemployment in Alabama in December 2017 with a rate of 6.5 percent behind Wilcox County, first, at 9.5 percent and Clark County, second, at 6.7 percent. Ranked fourth and fifth were Greene and Perry counties at 5.9 percent.

The December 2017 rate for Lowndes was 4.3 percent better, however, than the county’s December 2016 annual average rate of 10.8 percent. And the county’s preliminary November 2017 rate was 3.7 percent better than the November 2016 revised rate of 10.1 percent.

A ribbon cutting for the new Love’s in Lowndes County  at 1127 Tyson Road (Interstate 65, Exit 158) is set for Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 10 a.m.

Governor Kay Ivey announced on Friday that 2,093,063 people were counted as employed in December, the most ever recorded.  And, according to the Alabama Department of Labor, this number is up from November’s count of 2,087,509, and up from December 2016’s count of 2,047,753.

More, Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, maintaining last month’s record rate, and significantly below December 2016’s rate of 6.3 percent.  And December’s rate represents 75,698 unemployed persons, down from 75,775 in November and 137,875 in December 2016.

“We are ending 2017 with great news on the employment front,” Ivey said.  “Not only have we reached a record low unemployment rate, but now we can add another record to our list – more people are working in Alabama than ever before! We’ve been busy recruiting new business to our state, like our recent announcement of Toyota-Mazda’s decision to locate in North Alabama, bringing 4,000 jobs and more than 300 jobs in Troy due to Kimber’s recent announcement.”

“In early 2017, economists predicted that Alabama’s economy would gain 18,700 jobs over the year,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “I’m happy to say that we surpassed that prediction by more than 13,000 jobs, gaining a total of 32,500 jobs. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and we stand ready to provide whatever assistance is needed to make sure that they are able to fill their open positions.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 32,500, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+8,700), the construction sector (+6,100), and the manufacturing sector (+5,800), among others.

“Over the year, all 67 showed significant decreases in their unemployment rates,” continued Washington.  “Wilcox County is leading with a 6.2 percentage point drop from the same time last year.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.5 percent, Cullman County at 2.8 percent and Marshall, Madison, and Lee Counties at 2.9 percent.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.1 percent, Homewood at 2.3 percent and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.4 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.3 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent and Anniston at 5.0 percent.