County jobless numbers dropping

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Butler County’s unemployment rate slipped under 10 percent in November after remaining high for several months, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations reported Monday.

Butler County’s rate was 9.4 percent, down from 10.2 in October 2004. The state rate was 5.2 percent while the national average was 5.4 percent.

There were 960 unemployed workers in Butler County in November, down from 1,240 in October. It was down by 30 from the 990 jobless in October 2003.

Butler County ranked as the state’s tenth highest unemployment rate in October while Shelby County had the lowest at 2.2 percent. Nine counties had unemployment rates above Butler County’s 9.4.

They were from highest to lowest: Bullock, 15.5 percent; Wilcox, 15.3 percent; Washington, 13.2 percent, Lowndes, 12.4 percent; Perry, 11.4 percent; Dallas, 10.8 percent; Sumter, 10.3 percent; Greene, 10.2 percent; Choctaw, 10.1 percent.

Butler County’s eastern and southern neighbors, Crenshaw and Conecuh counties, ranked 26 and 27 in the state in unemployment with a 6.9 percent rate.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon was quite happy about the drop in unemployment and said it confirms the idea that anyone who wants a job in the area can find a job.

&uot;I think this is a clear sign that things are starting to turn around for our county,&uot; he said.

&uot;And I think in the next six months, that we are going to see the unemployment rate drop even lower.&uot;

He added that jobseekers truly wanting to work can do that.

&uot;I you want a job and are really willing to work, I think you can find one whether it is in Hope Hull, Luverne or here in Butler County,&uot; he said.

&uot;It may not be what you want at the time, but there are jobs out there.&uot;

The mayor said he has a goal in mind when it comes to the unemployment rate.

&uot;At 9.4 percent, that is still too high,&uot; he said.

&uot;My goal is to see it in the 6 percent range.

I think if we can work together and get it between 6 and 7 percent, we will have done a good job.&uot;

He said with the program offered by Reid State and the expected LBWCC expansion, those who want to qualify for good jobs and then go to work, will have no excuse.

&uot;I think will be get people trained to go to work,&uot; he said.

&uot;That is the thing we’ll be focusing on in the next few years.