County, state see historic low jobless rates

Published 5:20 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

Butler County’s unemployment rate continues to plummet alongside a historically low statewide rate.

Butler County recorded just 390 unemployed persons for September 2017, accounting for 4.3 percent of its workforce.  That number is a sharp decline from August 2017’s figure of 5.3 percent, and an even steeper drop from the same time last year—September 2016’s unemployment rate was 7.1 percent.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that the statewide preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, down from August’s rate of 4.2 percent and well below September 2016’s rate of 6 percent.

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Alabama hasn’t experienced such a low unemployment rate in more than a decade, dating back to April 2007’s rate of 3.8 percent, tying with the lowest figure in the state’s recorded history.

“We’ve been working extremely hard over the past six months to bring Alabama’s unemployment rate down, and today’s news shows that our efforts are paying off,” Ivey said.

“This is truly an historic day, as we announce that Alabama’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has ever been. When it comes to job creation, we are doing the right thing and momentum is on our side in Alabama. But, we won’t let up and we will continue recruiting new businesses and encouraging existing firms to expand. We can’t and won’t slow down just because we’ve reached this milestone.”

2,068,594 people were counted as employed in September, compared to 2,057,360 in August, and 2,045,762 in September 2016. September’s rate represents 82,678 unemployed persons, compared to 90,756 in August and 131,201 in September 2016.

“Nearly 23,000 more people are working now than last year and the number of unemployed is down by almost 50,000. Those numbers represent real workers, with real families, and indicate real progress in our economy,” said Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Alabama’s employers continue to add jobs, supporting more than 2,011,000 positions this month, beating yearly job growth projections by 28,400 only nine months into the year. We remain hopeful that this wonderful progress continues throughout the rest of the year.”

All 67 counties experienced unemployment rate drops, including the neighboring Crenshaw and Lowndes counties.

Crenshaw’s unemployment rate fell from 4.0 percent in August 2017 to 3.4 percent in September 2017, a sharp decline from September 2016’s figure of 6.0 percent.

Similarly, Lowndes fell from 7.4 percent in August to 6.2 percent in September.  Both figures are significantly lower than unemployment numbers Lowndes experienced during the same period last year—in September 2016, Lowndes boasted an 11.1 percent unemployment rate.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.4 percent, Marshall and Cullman Counties at 2.8 percent and Madison, Lee and Elmore Counties at 2.9 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.9 percent, Clarke County at 6.7 percent and Dallas County at 6.3 percent.