• 84°

While more Alabamians than ever are working, Lowndes remains fifth highest in state in unemployment

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Despite a 2.1 percent swing the wrong direction in June, Lowndes County’s preliminary unemployment rate remains fifth highest in the state, as was the case in May.

Yet, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced on Friday, July 20 the number of Alabamians working reached a record high of 2,098,377 in June.

Lowndes County saw its unemployment rate go up from a 6.5 percent revised rate in May to a preliminary rate of 8.6 June, according to the latest numbers released by the Alabama Department of Labor. But that was actually only.2 percent above its revised June rate of 8.4 percent in 2017.

Lowndes’ preliminary June unemployment numbers were better than Wilcox County at 11.4 percent, Clarke County at 9.3 percent, Perry County at 9.2 percent and Greene County at 8.8 percent.

Lowndes County’s May preliminary unemployment rate marked an improvement for the county going from a tie for second worst in unemployment in the state with Clarke County in April to fifth highest.

The Alabama Department of Labor reports the state’s economy is supporting more jobs than ever before, with employers reporting 2,050,400 positions.

“More Alabamians are employed than we have ever seen,” said Washington. “More people are entering the workforce, optimistic that they will find work, and they are finding it. Employers are telling us that they are supporting more positions than ever before. Jobs are available in Alabama, and even more are being announced every day. Alabama is working!”

Washington said, “As we are experiencing job growth, we’re also seeing our wages increase. Workers are earning on average more than $30 per week more now than they were last year, and we’ve also seen wages increase in the construction, manufacturing and professional and business services industries.”

Private sector average weekly wages increased over the year by $30.71, from $783.66 in June 2017 to $814.37 in June 2018.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.7 percent, Elmore, Cullman and Baldwin Counties at 4.2 percent and Marshall County at 4.3 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.3 percent, Alabaster at 3.5 percent and Homewood and Hoover at 3.6 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard and Selma at 8.9 percent, Anniston at 6.7 percent and Bessemer at 6.4 percent.