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Alabama’s unemployment drops to a near ten-year low

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, August 17, 2017, Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate is just 4.5 percent, which is, down from June’s rate of 4.6 percent, and well below July 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent.  July’s rate represents 96,251 unemployed persons, compared to 100,187 in June and 126,182 in July 2016.

Governor Ivey said, “This month, there are fewer people unemployed than there have been in nearly 10 years. This is most welcome news.  But even as our unemployment rate continues to decline, we must maintain our work to bring quality, high-paying, high-demand jobs to the State of Alabama. This is a goal I’m committed to, and I intend to continue doing just that.”

The number of people counted as unemployed is down 29,931 from July 2016. The last time this measurement was at or below July’s level was in November 2007, when it measured 95,445.

Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said, “In addition to this being the lowest unemployment rate Alabama has seen since January 2008, we also continue to see yearly growth in many of Alabama’s industries, including manufacturing and construction.”

Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said, “Upticks in manufacturing and construction jobs are indicative of positive economic growth.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 31,300.  The sector with the biggest gains are: in the leisure and hospitality sector at +12,500 jobs, the professional and business services sector with +7,200 jobs, the manufacturing sector at +6,700 jobs, and the construction sector at +4,900 jobs.

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The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.5 percent, Cullman and Baldwin Counties at 4.0% percent and Marshall and Elmore Counties at 4.1 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 13.5 percent, Perry County at 10.8 percent, and Clarke County at 10.2 percent.

The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.9 percent, Homewood and Hoover at 3.3 percent, and Alabaster at 3.4 percent.

The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 10.9 percent, Prichard at 9.7 percent, and Anniston at 6.5 percent.

Declining unemployment follows the trend nationally.  The states with the lowest unemployment rates are: North Dakota 2.2 percent; Colorado 2.4 percent; Hawaii 2.7 percent; and Nebraska and New Hampshire at 2.8 percent.  States (and territories) with the highest unemployment are: Puerto Rico 9.8 percent, Alaska 7.0 percent, D.C. 6.4 percent, New Mexico 6.3 percent, and Kentucky and Louisiana at 5.3 percent.

Alabama’s total state labor force is 2,187,123, which includes both the employed and those actually looking for work.  The labor force participation rate in the state is 56.3 percent, with just 53.8 percent actually employed.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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