Alabama jobless rate unchanged at 6 percent, W.C. Handy Festival underway

Jul 22, 2016

Alabama's unemployment rate remains unchanged from a month before.

The Alabama Department of Labor announced the jobless rate for June on Friday.

The number is the same as May at six percent.  It represents 130,439 unemployed people in Alabama. The state says June employment actually rose by almost 34,000 people, but the gain wasn't enough to lower the unemployment number.

The jobless rate is slightly lower than the June 2015 rate of 6.1 percent. But Alabama's unemployment rate remains well above the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

Shelby County has the state's lowest unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, and Wilcox County is highest at 15.1 percent.

Peanut growers from across the nation are gathering in Florida. That includes Alabama’s industry, which grows an estimated eighty million dollars’ worth of peanuts per year.

The 18th annual conference for the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation is meeting at Miramar Beach. Delegates will hear speakers on topics like surviving production uncertainty.

Carl Sanders is the President of the Alabama Peanut Producer Association. He says they are addressing some of the concerns which farmers didn’t expect…

“One of them is the fact that we have an abundance of peanuts right now and we’re trying to figure out new uses for them. One of those new uses is possibly for peanut oil to be converted to jet fuel or biodegradable hydraulic oil.”

Sanders also adds they have a damage issue with peanuts. The conference runs through Saturday.

The Shoals will be crawling with visitors for the rest of the month. The annual W.C. Handy festival is back and it runs into August.

The event was created to honor William Christopher Handy, who is known worldwide as Father of the Blues. The festival is the largest tourism attraction held annually in northwest Alabama, drawing in what is projected to be over two hundred thousand people

Tori Bailey is the festival chair. She says there will be a wide variety of music....

“There is something for every kind of music lover.   We have a pretty interesting mixture.  There’s jazz, and that’s both straight-ahead and contemporary.  There is gospel.  There is going to be some R&B.  There is going to be a little funky music, even some country music.  All of that is going to be happening during the course of the week.”

Bailey says besides music the festival also features a 5K run, family fun walk, a car show and a little something for everyone.