Unemployment rates drop on countywide, statewide level

Published 5:07 pm Friday, August 26, 2016

Butler County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage point from June to July, according to figures released on Aug. 19 by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Butler County’s unemployment rate for July was 6.9 percent, down from 7.8 percent in June and 8.3 percent from July 2015.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate is 5.7 percent statewide, down from June’s rate of 6 percent and below July 2015’s rate of 6.1 percent.

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“We continue to see decreases in Alabama’s unemployment rate, and increases in both of our employment measures over the year, which is a testament to the strong economic development efforts we have prioritized,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.

“We haven’t seen an unemployment rate this low in eight years.  Not only did the rate decrease since last month, but there are also nearly 28,000 more people working this year than there were last year.”

Lowndes County experienced an even larger dip in its jobless rate from June to July, falling from 11.7 percent in June to 10.4 percent in July.  Both figures are higher than July 2015’s unemployment rate of 13.2 percent.

Despite the improvement, Lowndes County still holds the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the state for a second consecutive month.

Crenshaw County’s employment rate similarly fell from 6.5 percent in June to 5.7 percent, tying the seasonally-adjusted statewide average.  The 5.7 percent July rate is down from July 2015’s rate of 6.5 percent.

In July 2016, 2,039,029 people were counted as employed, up from 2,011,438 in July 2015.  Additionally, 123,095 people were counted as unemployed in July 2016.  The last time the number was at or below 123,095 was in June 2008, when the number of unemployed measured 118,828.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 10,000, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, the trade, transportation and utilities sector, the financial activities sector and the manufacturing sector, among others.

“July registered the fewest number of unemployed people since 2008, and the good news also trickled down to the counties this month, as well,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington.

“Every county in Alabama saw its rate decrease over the month, and 66 of 67 counties saw their rates decrease over the year, some by more than two percentage points.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Elmore County at 4.7 percent and Baldwin County at 4.8 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 14.3 percent, Perry County at 12.1 percent and Clarke County at 11.4 percent.