Jobless rate unchanged
Butler County’s unemployment rate held steady in November, according to figures released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.
Butler County’s unemployment rate remained at 6.9 percent after dropping from 7.5 percent from September to October.
Neighboring counties Crenshaw and Wilcox saw their jobless rates rise from 5.5 percent to 6 percent and 13.3 percent to 13.5 percent, respectively.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also jumped slightly from 5.9 percent to 6 percent.
Seasonal adjustment refers to the practice of anticipating certain trends in the labor force, such as hiring during the holidays or the surge in the labor force when students graduate in the spring, and removing their effects to the civilian labor force.
The unadjusted rate for November was 5.6 percent, which was unchanged from October.
“We are coming closer and closer to hitting that golden wage and salary employment number of two million jobs,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “We are less than 25,000 jobs shy of attaining pre-recession employment levels in Alabama. We haven’t seen wage and salary employment at two million since June 2008, prior to the recession’s effects in our state. Our economy is strong, and my goal is that every Alabamian who wants a job can obtain one.”
Alabama Labor Department Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said the holiday season likely played a role in the state’s rate rising.
“The very slight uptick in November’s unemployment rate is due to the fact that more people entered the workforce, perhaps looking for seasonal employment,” Washington said. “Additionally, more people are employed both over the month and over the year, so this small increase is not necessarily bad news.”
The Civilian Labor Force (CLF) increased in November to 2,146,294 from 2,141,221in October and from 2,130,131 in November 2014 (seasonally adjusted). CLF employment also increased to 2,018,189 from 2,014,056 in October and from 1,999,222 in November 2014.
Wage and salary employment increased in November by 12,800 to 1,975,700. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+9,100), the education and health services sector (+2,800), and the government sector (+1,800), among others.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 24,900, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,400), the education and health services sector (+5,900), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+4,800), and the construction sector (+4,700), among others.
“The fact that the construction sector continues to show improvement over the year is another good sign for Alabama’s economy,” Washington added. “Construction employment hasn’t been this healthy since 2010. If construction is occurring, then confidence in the economy is generally optimistic.”
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4 percent, Lee County at 4.7 percent, and Elmore, Cullman, and St. Clair Counties at 4.8 percent.
The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox, Lowndes County (10.6 percent) and Clarke County (10.5 percent).