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Marengo unemployment rate holds at 4.8 percent

According to statistics released by the Alabama Department of Labor, Marengo County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate did not change in November; however, it is well below the rate from a year ago.

November’s unemployment rate was reported at 4.8 percent. In November 2016, the rate was at 7.4 percent.

The unemployment rate represents a civilian labor force of 7,514, which is down from the previous year’s 7,661.

In Greene County, the unemployment rate saw a slight month-over-month increase, from 5.7 percent in October to 5.8 in November. Still, that number is well below the 10.2 percent reported in November 2016.

Sumter County also saw an increase in its rate at 5.4 percent, which is up from 5 percent in October. The rate in November 2016 was 7.4 percent.

Hale County’s November unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, up from 4.3 percent in October, but down from 7.4 in November 2016.

Other neighboring county November unemployment rates are: Choctaw, 5.6 percent; Clarke, 6.7 percent; Dallas, 5.8 percent; Perry, 6.3 percent; and Wilcox, 9.3 percent.

Wilcox County’s 9.3 percent unemployment rate was the highest among Alabama counties with Clarke County placing second highest, followed by Lowndes with a rate of 6.4 percent.

Counties with the lowest unemployment are Shelby, Marshall, Cullman, Madison, Lee, and Elmore, respectively.

Among major cities, Selma had the highest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent, followed by Prichard, Anniston and Bessemer.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.4 percent, Homewood at 2.5 percent, and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.6 percent.

The November statewide unemployment numbers are being touted by state officials as setting all-time lows.

The 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.  November’s statewide rate represents 75,807 unemployed persons, also a new record low, compared to 77,231 in October and 136,135 in November 2016. More people were counted as employed in November, with 2,087,667 people working, up from 2,079,720 in October, and 40,152 more than in November 2016, when 2,047,515 were counted as employed.

“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.” Governor Kay 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,” Governor 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.”

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, December 30 issue of the Demopolis Times.)