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County’s jobless rate inches up

The unemployment rate for Butler County rose slightly from April to May, according to figures released by the Alabama Department of Labor.

The county’s rate for May was 6.8 percent, after posting a 6.7 percent rate in April. Despite the slight increase, the 6.8 percent unemployment rate was still an improvement over May of 2015, which saw the county post a 7.3 percent unemployment rate.

Lowndes and Wilcox Counties, both of which border Butler County, also saw their jobless rates rise. Lowndes’ rate rose from 10.2 percent to 10.7 percent, while Wilcox saw its rate jump to 13.5 percent from 12.7 percent.

Crenshaw County, another neighbor of Butler County, saw its rate hold steady at 5.8 percent.

The State of Alabama’s seasonally adjusted rate of 6.1 percent remained unchanged from April to May. 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.

May’s rate represents 132,106 unemployed Alabamians, compared to 133,252 in April and 130,722 in May 2015.

“These numbers show that we are continuing to see job growth in Alabama,” said Gov. Robert Bentley. “We are working hard every day to put Alabamians back to work. Though this month’s percentage remains the same, more people are working today than a month ago and more people are looking for work. This is a sign that the economy is on the right track, as we continue to work diligently to bring more jobs to Alabama.”

The Civilian Labor Force (CLF), which is made up of people who are working or looking for work, increased in May both over the month and over the year.  40,548 more people are working or looking for work in May 2016 than there were in May 2015.  The number of people who are counted as employed also increased over the month and the year, with 39,164 more working this year than last.

“Our wage and salary employment continues to show marked improvement,” said Fitzgerald Washington, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “We’re less than 25,000 jobs away from reaching the two million mark, which has been among the highest number of jobs our economy has ever supported over the last 20 years. I’m optimistic that we will reach this milestone this year.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Elmore County at 4.8 percent and Cherokee County at 4.9 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County, Lowndes County and Clarke County (10.6 percent).