Unemployment rate jumps again

Published 1:59 pm Friday, March 28, 2014

For the second month in a row Butler County has seen a spike in its unemployment rate, according to figures released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

In February, the county saw its unemployment rate rise from 9.2 percent to 9.6 percent. In January, the county saw its unemployment rate rise from 7.9 percent to 9.2 percent.

The State of Alabama also saw its unemployment rate rise.

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The state’s February jobless rate was 6.4 percent, up from 6.1 percent in January.

“Although we saw an uptick in the state’s unemployment rate, we also saw an increase in the number of people working, as well as the number of people in the labor force,” said Tom Surtees, Alabama Department of Labor commissioner. “These indicators, combined with an increase in the number of jobs reported by employers, tell me that more people are out in the workforce — either looking for jobs or working, and that’s certainly good news.”

According to figures released by the Alabama Department of Labor, in February, the number of people working in Alabama increased to 1,996,720 from 1,990.938 in January.

Butler County’s February rate represented 840 unemployed people compared to 806 in January. According to the report, there were 7,946 employed people in Butler County in February.

Crenshaw and Lowndes Counties, which neighbor Butler County, also saw an increase in their unemployment rates.

Crenshaw County’s rate jumped from 6.9 percent to 7.9 percent, while Lowndes County saw its rate rise from 11.8 percent to 12.6 percent.

Surtees said officials are hopeful that the opening a new career center in Lowndes County will help spur job creation in the area.

“Just this week we announced the we would be offer additional career center services in Lowndes County, which has one of the higher unemployment rates in the state,” he said. “Hopefully the free services offered there will help the unemployed citizens in that area get back to work.”

Counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state are Wilcox County at 16.9 percent, Perry County at 13.3 percent and Dallas County at 13.1 percent.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 5.1 percent, Lee County at 5.9 percent and Autauga County at 6.3 percent.