Lowndes unemployment improves, but still third highest in state

Published 7:38 pm Friday, March 23, 2018

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Lowndes County’s unemployment rate improved slightly from January to February, but like the state, was well below the February 2017 rate. However, the county continues to rank third highest in unemployment in Alabama.

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Lowndes County had a preliminary February 2018 unemployment rate of 7.4 percent, down .1 percent from a revised January 2018 rate of 7.5 percent, but 2.7 percent (nearly 3 percent) lower than a revised February 2017 rate of 10.1 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 10.5 percent, first; Clarke County at 8.0 percent, second; Lowndes County at 7.4 percent, third; Greene, fourth at 6.9 percent; and Monroe, fifth, at 6.8 percent.

Governor Kay Ivey announced on Friday, March 23 that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, well below February 2017’s rate of 5.3 percent.

February’s rate represents 80,685 unemployed persons, compared to 80,807 in January and 115,397 in February 2017. 2,080,339 people were counted as employed, up from January’s count of 2,079,876, and up from February 2017’s count of 2,060,841.

“The fact that we are able to maintain our record low unemployment rate for yet another month shows that we are, in fact, keeping Alabamians working,” said Ivey.  “Once again, we can announce that we have the fewest number of unemployed people in history.  More people are working, and our economy is adding jobs.  This is a combination I’m proud of, and one we hope to maintain for many more months to come.”

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said, “We have maintained a wage and salary employment count of over two million for eleven months in a row now. Not long ago, we were looking forward to just attaining that ‘magic number.’ We are consistently adding jobs to our economy.  These numbers show that employers are confident in the economy and are continuing to hire.”

Wage and salary employment grew in February by 14,800.  Monthly gains were seen in the education and health services sector (+4,700), the government sector (+2,600), and the professional and business services sector (+2,400), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 19,300, with gains in the education and health services sector (+5,000), the professional and business sector (+4,300), the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,200), and the manufacturing industry (+2,400), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.1 percent, Cullman County at 3.6 percent, and Marshall, Madison and Blount Counties at 3.7 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.6 percent, Homewood at 2.9 percent and Alabaster and Hoover at 3.0 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 7.5 percent, Selma at 7.2 percent and Anniston at 6.5 percent.