Butler County unemployment rate up despite statewide fall

Published 4:51 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

Butler County’s unemployment rate spiked from May to June by more than a full percentage point despite the state’s overall continued decline.

According to statistics released by the Alabama Department of Labor, Butler County’s jobless rate sits at 6.2 percent, up from May’s rate of 5.1 percent.  The figure is still much lower than Butler County’s rate during the same time in 2016, however; in June 2016, the county’s unemployment rate sat at 7.8 percent.

The local unemployment spike sits in sharp contrast to the state of Alabama’s continued decline overall.  Alabama’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.9 percent in May to 4.6 percent in June. 2017’s rates are significantly lower than 2016, as the state sported a jobless rate of 5.8 percent in 2016.

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The current rate represents 100,376 unemployed people statewide compared to 107,223 in May.

More than 100 people within Butler County find themselves jobless in comparison to the previous month.  In June, 573 people represented the county’s unemployed population, compared to 464 in May.  The current amount is still drastically lower than June 2016’s figure of 712 unemployed persons.

“Alabama’s unemployment continues to drop, and our economy continues to add jobs.  As of now, we are only two-tenths of a percentage point away from catching up to the national unemployment rate,” said Governor Kay Ivey.  “Even though our numbers are improving, I continue to pledge to work even harder to make sure that any Alabamian who wants a job can find one.”

“For the third month in a row, we can report that our wage and salary employment is topping two million jobs.  This has been a milestone we’ve strived to reach for years, and is an excellent indicator of economic health,” said Washington.  “We’ve added 46,100 private sector jobs since January, and our over the year job growth rate was 1.8 percent, the highest it’s been in 11 years.”

Neighboring counties experienced a similar unemployment spike.  Crenshaw County’s unemployment rate jumped from 4.3 percent in May (below the state average) to 5.1 percent in June.  Year-to-year measurements still track overall improvement from 2016, however, as Crenshaw sported a 6.2 percent unemployment rate in June 2016.

Lowndes County, despite a noticeable spike in unemployment from May to June, has fallen out of the state’s top three ranked unemployment rates.  Lowndes jumped from a figure of 7.3 percent in May to 9 percent in June.  Bot figures are drastically lower than June 2016’s rate of 11.2 percent, however.

On a statewide basis, the last time yearly growth in wage and salary employment measured more than 1.8 percent was in June 2006, when it measured 2.2 percent.

Wage and salary employment increased in June by 6,000 to 2,016,400.  Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,000), the other services sector (+1,200), and the professional and business services sector (+1,000), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 34,800, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+10,800), the professional and business services sector (+6,900), and the education and health services sector (+6,200), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.8 percent, Elmore, Cullman, and Baldwin Counties at 4.3 percent and Marshall County at 4.5 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 13.5 percent, Clarke County at 10.6 percent and Perry County at 10.2 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.2 percent, Hoover at 3.6 percent, and Homewood at 3.7 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard and Selma at 10.1 percent, Anniston at 7.0 percent and Mobile and Bessemer at 6.5 percent.