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County jobless rate sits at 11.5 percent

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced the increase of Alabama’s unemployment rate on Friday.

Butler County has an unemployment rate of 11.5%.

“At this time last year, the July 2019 unemployment rate was 3.9% in Butler County and 3.1% in Alabama,” Butler County Commission For Economic Development Director David Hutchison said. “The first round of the PPP expired in early August. Some jobs in the retail and commercial sectors – especially restaurants – are still not back to normal due to them operating at 50% capacity.

“Some people that were eligible for federal and state unemployment benefits may be attempting to reenter the workforce as well. In the past few months, two of our Butler County existing industries, Hwashin America Corporation and Ozark Logistics, have both announced plans for new investment and additional jobs.”

The state unemployment rate for July was 7.9%, an increase from June’s rate of 7.6%.

“Following several months of unemployment rate decreases, this month we saw a slight increase in our unemployment rate,” Washington said. “While we can all agree that the economy is definitely recovering, we will continue to have fluctuations as we continue to learn how to navigate in this new pandemic-related reality.”

The state has regained about half of the jobs lost from March until April.

“Nearly 200,000 jobs were lost from March to April, when we experienced the greatest shutdowns and layoffs,” Washington continued. “Since then, we’ve recovered approximately half of those jobs.”

For more information about how the Bureau of Statistics calculates the percentages, you can visit bls.gov/covid19/home.htm