County unemployment rate improves in April

Published 9:59 pm Monday, May 29, 2017

Alabama’s unemployment rate plummeted to its lowest rate in nine years, according to the most recent statistics from the Alabama Department of Labor.

The figure for April 2017 sits at 5.4 percent, tied with only Tennessee for highest drop in employment for the month around the United States.

Butler County’s unemployment statistics look similarly positive, as they also took a dive from March to April by nearly a full percentage point.

Butler County’s jobless rate fell to 4.6 percent in April, down from 5.8 percent in March and also significantly lower than April 2016’s figure of 5.5 percent.

The figure is notably well below the statewide average by .8 percentage points.

For the entire state, wage and salary employed topped 2 million, which is another high-water mark Alabama hasn’t experienced since 2008.

The state’s overall unemployment rate around the state dropped from March’s rate of 5.8, though it still sits under the national jobless average of 4.4 percent.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said that the 2-million figure in wages and salary were especially noteworthy for Alabama.

“We’ve long said that reaching the two-million job mark would be a true indicator of economic health,” he said. “Employers are hiring in Alabama, and it shows in these numbers.”

Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement the fact that 50,000 more Alabamians are working compared to the same time last year “represents thousands of Alabama families that now have more opportunity than before.”

Counties neighboring Butler County experienced similar fortunes in April.  Crenshaw County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.2 percent in March to 4.4 percent in April, a figure even further down from April 2016’s rate of 5.5 percent.

Lowndes County still boasts the third-highest unemployment rate in the state, though it experienced an even sharper decrease from March to April as its jobless rate plummeted from 9.2 percent in March to 8.1 percent in April.  That number is also down drastically from Lowndes County’s statistics a year ago (9.8 percent).

Wage and salary employment totaled 2,001,800 in April statewide, a figure 10,400 higher than last month’s.

The gains were mostly experienced in leisure and hospitality jobs, professional business services and government.

Shelby County boasted the lowest statewide unemployment rate (3.3 percent), while Wilcox County sits at the opposite end of the spectrum with a rate of 11.7 percent.