Butler County holds steady as state sees record low jobless rates

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2017

As the statewide unemployment rate continues to fall precipitously around Alabama, Butler County’s jobless rate holds steady near a record-low 4.4 percent.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced last week that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate set a new record low of 3.5 percent, down from October’s previous record setting rate of 3.6 percent, and well below November 2016’s rate of 6.2 percent.

Similarly, though Butler County’s unemployment figures are a bit above the state average, the rate remains a drastic improvement in comparison to the county’s rates from the same time last year; Butler County boasted an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent just a year ago in November 2016.

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Last November, 593 people comprised the county’s jobless percentage. This November, that number has dwindled to 395.

In comparison, the neighboring Crenshaw County’s unemployment rate rose slightly, though it remains below the statewide average.  Crenshaw County’s jobless rate was 3.4 percent in October 2017, and now sits at 3.5 percent.  Both figures are a marked improvement from November 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent.

Lowndes County also experienced a small increase from 6.3 percent in October 2017 to 6.4 percent in November 2017, though both figures are drastic improvements from November 2016’s rate of 10.1 percent.

“It was just last month when we reached the extraordinary milestone of breaking all previous unemployment rate records, but now just a month later the trend continues and we have once again broken those records.” Ivey said.  “This continued historic decline in our unemployment rate, coupled with the fact that Alabama’s businesses are employing more Alabamians than ever before, shows that we are truly moving forward and proving to everyone that Alabama is a great place to live and do business.”

“We have 30,500 more jobs now than we did last year, over 40,000 more people are working, and the number of unemployed has dropped by over 60,000 from last year –  the fewest number of people counted as unemployed in Alabama history!  We will continue our work to ensure that any Alabamian who wants a job, can find one,” Ivey continued.

“Our construction employment, currently measuring 91,500, is at one of its highest levels in more than eight years,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “Construction employment is an indicator of economic stability, and we have seen a steady increase in construction employment for most of this year.  Additionally, our manufacturing employment is at its highest level in nearly nine years, nearing 2008 levels, which are pre-recessionary in Alabama.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 30,500, increasing to 2,029,800, the highest number ever recorded, with gains in the construction sector (+6,600), the manufacturing sector (+5,600), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,200), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in November by 6,700.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,200), the government sector (+1,800), and the manufacturing sector (+400), among others.

“All 67 counties experienced significant drops in their unemployment rates over the year,” continued Washington.  “Wilcox County, which traditionally has the highest unemployment rate in the state, has seen its rate drop by 5.7 percentage points since last year.  2017 marks the first time in a decade that all counties’ unemployment rates have been in the single digits.”