While Lowndes unemployment improves, county is second highest in state

Published 10:55 am Friday, May 18, 2018

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Despite experiencing an unemployment rate improvement over the month and year, including an improvement of .3 percent from March’s revised unemployment rate, Lowndes County actually went from the county with the third highest unemployment rate in the state to being tied with Clarke County for having the second highest unemployment rate in the state.

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That’s the result, according to preliminary April 2018 numbers released Friday, May 18 by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Lowndes is improved from a 6.9 percent revised March 2018 unemployment rate and a 7.5 percent revised April 2017 rate to a 6.6 preliminary April 2018 rate. But counties with the highest April 2018 preliminary rate are Wilcox first at 8.6 at percent, Clarke and Lowndes second at 6.6 percent, Greene third at 6.0 percent, Monroe fourth at 5.7 percent and Perry fifth at 5.6 percent.

But overall, the news is get for Lowndes and the entire state.

“All 67 Alabama counties experienced rate drops both over the month and over the year,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “Wilcox County, which traditionally has the highest unemployment rate in Alabama, saw its rate drop by 2.2 percentage points over the year.”

Lowndes’ April 2018 rate .9 percent better than a year ago.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.6 percent, Cullman County at 2.8 percent, and Marshall, Madison, and Elmore Counties at 3.0 percent.

Governor Kay Ivey announced on Friday that Alabama’s wage and salary employment measured 2,039,200 in March, the highest since December 2007.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 24,600, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+7,700), the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,700), and the construction sector (+3,400), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in April by 13,900. Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+6,000), the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,900), and the construction sector (+2,300), among others.

“The good news just keeps coming in Alabama,” Ivey said. “Our workforce is growing, more people are working, and businesses are moving to our great state.  We are proud of how much we’ve improved, and are working hard to build on that momentum.”

Alabama’s civilian labor force (CLF) increased 6,970 over the month, reaching its highest level so far in 2018.

“Alabama businesses are supporting more jobs than they have in more than a decade,” Ivey continued. “In fact, we’ve got the third highest wage and salary employment in history. This tells us that businesses in Alabama are hiring, and they’re confident in our economy.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate is 3.8%, unchanged from March’s rate of 3.8%, and well below April 2017’s rate of 4.8%.  2,086,659 people were counted as employed in April, an increase of 19,877 from last year.  April’s rate represents 83,208 unemployed persons, compared to 81,166 in March and 104,027 in April 2017.

Additionally, average weekly earnings increased $41.92 over the year.  Wages in the construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation, & utilities, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors all increased over the year.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.2 percent, Alabaster at 2.5 percent, and Hoover, Madison, and Northport at 2.6 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 6.1 percent, Selma at 6.0 percent and Anniston at 5.2 percent.