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For January 2019, Lowndes has second highest unemployment rate in state

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Despite record breaking employment in Alabama, Lowndes County recorded the second highest preliminary unemployment rate in the state for January.

For eight consecutive months, the number of people counted as employed in Alabama has reached record highs, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.  In January 2019, the number measured 2,123,398, breaking December 2018’s revised count of 2,120,769, it was announced Monday, March 11.

“People are working in Alabama.  Employers are hiring in Alabama.  We continue to report record numbers of people with jobs, and we are seeing fewer and fewer people counted as unemployed, which is what we like to see,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.

The number of people counted as unemployed in January measured 83,406, which is the third lowest count in history. A year ago, this number measured 86,250.

However, counties with the highest preliminary unemployment rates in Alabama for January include Wilcox at 10.5 percent, Lowndes at 8.2 percent, Clarke at 7.9 percent, Dallas at 7.7 percent and Greene 7.1 percent.

Lowndes preliminary January unemployment increased 1.4 percent to 8.2 percent from a revised December 2018 rate of 6.8 percent, but just .1 percent higher than the revised January 2018 rate of 8.1 percent.

Prior to revised rates, Lowndes was previously reported to have had the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state for December 2018 at 6.5 percent.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted January 2019 unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, unchanged from December 2018’s rate, and below January 2018’s rate of 3.9 percent.  Following end-of-year revisions, 3.8 percent marks the record low unemployment rate for Alabama.

“While maintaining our record low unemployment rate, we’ve also seen some great over-the-year growth in some of our high wage industries,” continued Washington.  “Both the construction, information, and manufacturing sectors saw significant increases from January 2018 to January 2019.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 31,500, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,600), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+4,400), and the construction sector (+4,200), among others.

The construction sector experienced job growth measuring 5.0 percent over-the-year, the information sector experienced growth measuring 3.9 percent and the manufacturing sector experienced job growth measuring 1.4 percent over-the-year.

Counties with the lowest preliminary unemployment rates for January include: Shelby County at 3.2 percent, Marshall and Cullman Counties at 3.7 percent and Tuscaloosa, Morgan, Madison and Elmore Counties at 3.8 percent.

Major cities with the lowest preliminary unemployment rates for January include: Homewood at 2.7 percent, Vestavia Hills at 2.9 percent and Alabaster at 3.0 percent.  Major cities with the highest preliminary unemployment rates for January include: Selma at 8.8 percent, Prichard at 7.5 percent and Anniston at 6.1 percent.