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Unemployment rates fall statewide

Butler County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly a point from January to February, according to figures released Thursday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Butler County’s unemployment rate for February was 7 percent, down from 7.7 percent in January and 10.3 percent in February of 2014.

Preliminary data shows that all 67 counties experienced unemployment rate decreases in both month over month and year over year.

“Alabama’s February unemployment rate is very good news for our state,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “… Over two million Alabamians are working – the most since 2008. Our economy supported more jobs in February than it has during the same period since 2008. We also experienced a significant increase in construction jobs, which bodes well for the state’s economic health.”

Lowndes County saw its jobless rate dip by more than a point. It’s February rate was 10.3 percent, which is down from 11.4 percent in January and 14.5 percent in February of 2014.

Crenshaw County’s unemployment rate fell from 6.3 percent to 5.9 percent. Its February of 2014 rate was 9.1 percent.

The household survey indicates that 2,016,508 reported having jobs in February.  The last time employment was equal to or above this number was October 2008, when employment totaled 2,021,511.

Wage and salary employment totaled 1,930,900 in February. The last time February’s wage and salary employment was equal to or above that number was in 2008.

“Another economic indicator shows continued improvement is the number of initial unemployment compensation claims filed in February is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. This tells us that employers are laying off fewer workers than they have in decades,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “The bottom line is that nearly all of our economic indicators are trending in the right direction, and are finally either nearing or surpassing 2008 levels – when the recession truly began to hit Alabama.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4 percent, Lee County at 4.7 percent and Tuscaloosa County at 4.8 percent.

The counties with highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 13.5 percent, Greene County at 10.7 percent, Clarke County at 10.4 percent and Lowndes County.