According to a Friday report from the Alabama Department of Labor, the county’s jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in March from 5.5 percent the same month last year. The report states the county had 189 more employed people in March than it did a year ago, but also 270 fewer people in the total workforce.

State education superintendent applicant Eric Mackey said he believes the state Education Department should give local districts leeway to do their jobs, while focusing on jobs the state alone can do. “Resolving the testing situation is going to be the number one issue for the new superintendent, whoever it is,” Mackey said.

Both candidates in Pike County say same-sex marriage is a big issue in their political race. But there’s little evidence the issue is heating up probate judge contests in the six other Alabama counties that stopped issuing marriage licenses since 2015. That makes it more likely, experts say, that there will still be seven non-issuing counties a year from now.

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