Lowndes remains third highest in state in unemployment

Published 10:26 am Friday, November 16, 2018

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

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For the sixth month in a row, a record number of people are working in Alabama, according to Alabama Department of Labor October numbers. But Lowndes County remains third highest in unemployment in the state.

Counties with the highest October unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 8.8 percent, Clarke County at 7.1 percent and Lowndes County at 6.8 percent.

Lowndes improved .4 percent from a revised September rate of 7.2 percent, but was .3 percent higher in unemployment than a revised October 2017 rate of 6.5 percent. Dallas and Greene counties are fourth and fifth highest in unemployment with October rates of 6.4 percent and 6.3 percent respectively.

In October, the number of Alabama people counted as employed measured 2,122,970, which tops last month’s record breaking number of 2,117,359, and is 40,377 more than October 2017’s count of 2,082,593. 

The number of people counted as unemployed dropped as well, measuring 89,754, down from September’s count of 90,818.

“More than 40,000 Alabamians now have jobs that didn’t last year,” said Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington. “That means that they are contributing to our state’s economy and providing for their families.  Our labor force continues to grow, reaching its highest level of 2018, and the vast majority of those are finding jobs, which tells us that people have confidence in our economy.”

The civilian labor force (CLF) increased to 2,212,724 in October, its highest level of 2018, representing a year-over-year increase of 48,254.

“Additionally, we broke the record for the number of jobs our economy is supporting – AGAIN – beating the previous record by more than 12,000 jobs.  We’re beginning to see retail hiring pick up in preparation for the holidays, but over-the-year gains in high wage industries like manufacturing and construction are extremely encouraging, with yearly gains of 3.88% and 2.52%, respectively.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 34,500, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+12,500), the manufacturing sector (+10,200), and the construction sector (+2,200), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in October by 12,200.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,000), the professional and business services sector (+2,200), and the government sector (+2,200), among others. 

Average weekly private sector earnings were again up over-the-year, rising by $18.88 per week. Construction earnings reached their highest level in history, rising to $984.13 per week.

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, unchanged from September’s rate, and above October 2017’s rate of 3.8 percent. 

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 2.8 percent, Cullman County at 3.2 percent, and Marshall and Elmore Counties at 3.3 percent. 

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills and Homewood at 2.6 percent, Alabaster at 2.7 percent, and Madison and Northport at 2.8 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.2 percent, Prichard at 6.8 percent and Anniston and Bessemer at 5.2 percent.