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Rising economy

Signs point to good local business environment

Unemployment is down in Escambia County.

Alabama Department of Labor statistics show March’s claims fell from 1,001 in February to 875, bringing the monthly unemployment rate to 5.9 percent.

That figure is slightly about the state unemployment average of 5.8 percent.

Statistics show that nearly 14,000 people are employed in Escambia County.

“I am encouraged to hear that nearly 13,000 more Alabamians have a job today than did in February,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a printed statement. “As we work to improve Alabama’s image, these figures are welcomed news, but they are just a start. I am honored that the first employment numbers announced during my administration are on the right side of the ledger.”

ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said the state is “very close” to reaching an employment milestone – a wage and salary employment figure of 2 million.

“We’re only 10,000 jobs away (statewide) from reaching this goal, which hasn’t been met since June 2008 and has, in fact, only been achieved 13 times over the past 10 years.”

In March, every county experienced a drop in their unemployment rate over the month, and 66 of the state’s 67 counties saw rates stay the same or decrease over the year, he said.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates for March are: Shelby at 4 percent; Elmore at 4.4 percent; and Cullman at 4.5 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox at 13.8 percent; Clarke and Greene at 9.6 percent, and Lowndes at 9.3 percent.

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