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Unemployment rates drop statewide

The Alabama Department of Labor released its latest unemployment figures on Friday, and for Butler County it was good news.

After months of seeing its jobless rate rise, the county saw a decrease for the second time in as many months. The county’s rate fell to 6.7 percent in April from 7.5 percent in March.

The decrease follows a statewide trend, as all 67 counties saw their unemployment rates dip, while Alabama’s rate decreased slightly from 6.2 percent in March to 6.1 percent in April.

Crenshaw and Lowndes counties, which neighbor Butler, saw their rates fall to 5.8 percent ad 10.2 percent, respectively, from 6.3 percent and 11.1 percent.

“Every aspect of this month’s jobs data reflects positively on Alabama’s economy,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “More people are working and more jobs are filled. In fact, we are supporting almost 100,000 more jobs now than we were at the height of the recession. We are continuously working to keep that momentum going, with events like last week’s huge job fair in Birmingham that drew more than 5,000 job seekers.”

Wage and salary employment measured 1,971,300 in April 2016.

“This is a promising month for us,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “There are more people looking for work and more people working this month than there have been all year. The number of people who are unemployed is down. We continue to see growth in our wage and salary employment, surpassing economists’ growth expectations by nearly 8,000 jobs only four months into the year.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4 percent, Elmore County at 4.5 percent and Cherokee County at 4.6 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 12.8 percent, Lowndes and Clarke County at 9.9 percent.