County’s jobless rate falls slightly

Published 12:49 pm Monday, September 21, 2015

Butler County’s unemployment rate dipped slightly from 8.4 percent in July to 8.2 percent in August, according to figures released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Butler County’s unemployment rate in August of 2014 was 9.1 percent.

Statewide the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.2 percent.

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Seasonal adjustment refers to the practice of anticipating certain trends in the labor force, such as hiring during the holidays or the surge in the labor force when students graduate in the spring, and removing their effects to the civilian labor force.

The unadjusted rate for August was 6.5 percent, down from 6.7 percent in July.

“There was very little change this month in our unemployment numbers,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.  “We focus on the fact that we continue to show year-over-year growth in our wage and salary employment, meaning that the trend of slow and steady progress is continuing. This week, we celebrated the inauguration of operations for Airbus in Mobile and announced an expansion at Mercedes Benz with 300 new jobs. We are working every day to create jobs, and our efforts will continue.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 23,300, with gains in the education and health services sector (+7,700), the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,700), and the construction sector (+4,000), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in August by 900.  Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+1,600), the education and health services sector (+1,000), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+700), among others.

“All of the metro areas saw their unemployment rates drop or remain constant over the month, and 64 of 67 counties saw their rate either drop or remain constant in August,” said Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington. “Only one Alabama county experienced an increase in its unemployment rate over the year, which is telling us that all across the state, things are improving.”

Crenshaw County’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.5 percent, while Lowndes County saw its rate drop from 13.2 percent to 12.5 percent and Wilcox County saw its jobless rate dip from 16.2 percent in July to 16 percent in August.

Wilcox still has the highest unemployment rate in the state, followed by Clarke County (12.9 percent), Lowndes and Green County (11.2 percent).

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.7 percent, Lee, Elmore, and St. Clair Counties at 5.5 percent and Cullman and Baldwin Counties at 5.6 percent.