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Alabama’s October unemployment rate falls to record low 3.6 percent

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is just 3.6 percent, down from September’s previous record-tying rate of 3.8 percent, and well below October 2016’s rate of 6.1 percent.

“Today, I’m thrilled to announce Alabama’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October is down to 3.6 percent,” Ivey said in a statement. “This is the LOWEST in Alabama HISTORY! What we are doing is working and, in turn, Alabamians are working. I will persist in my efforts to put every Alabamian who wants to work in a good paying job by recruiting high-wage, high-skill industries to our state.”

“We had great news last month, when we announced that Alabama’s unemployment rate had tied its lowest ever.  Today, our news is even bigger! Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped even more, registering a new record low!” Ivey said. “What we are doing is working.”

“Additionally, today’s numbers show that we currently have the fewest number of unemployed people in history, measuring some 77,000; but that means 77,000 Alabamians, men and women, are still without work,” the governor said. “I will persist in my efforts to put every Alabamian who wants to work in a good paying job by recruiting high-wage, high-skill industries to Alabama.”

The governor recently has been stressing improving the skills gap. More and more jobs require post graduation technical training, associate’s degrees, college degrees or even higher level degrees, and the state’s work force, on the whole, does not have enough people with advanced skills or training. CDL drivers and nurses have been in demand for some time.

October’s rate represents 77,358 unemployed persons, the lowest number ever recorded, compared to 82,562 in September and 133,875 in October 2016. 2,079,576 people were counted as employed. That is up over 10,000 workers compared to 2,069,094 in September. Only 2,046,861 had jobs in October 2016.

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“As we continue to see our unemployment rate drop, Alabama’s businesses continue to hire and support real jobs in our economy. Our wage and salary employment figures are currently at the third highest level since we began keeping records. There are nearly 30,000 more jobs today than there were in October of last year. Through job fairs and the services provided at our Career Centers located throughout the state, we are helping employers find the employees they are looking for,” Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said.

Over the last year, wage and salary employment increased 29,400. The largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,100), the professional and business services sector (+6,400) and the manufacturing sector (+6,100), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased 6,500 in October alone.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,300), the education and health services sector (+2,700), and the government sector (+2,200), among others.

The county with the lowest unemployment rate is Shelby County at just 2.6 percent. Marshall, Madison, Lee and Cullman Counties are all at just 3.0 percent with Tuscaloosa and Elmore Counties at 3.1 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.9 percent, Clarke County at 6.6 percent and Lowndes County at 6.4 percent.

The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster, Homewood and Vestavia Hills at just 2.4 percent, Hoover at 2.6 percent and Madison at 2.7 percent. The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard and Selma at 6.5 percent, Anniston at 4.9 percent and Bessemer at just 4.8 percent.

The total number of unemployed does not include those Alabamians who have dropped out of the workforce and are not looking for work. It is hoped that more of them will apply for the growing number of jobs that are available today, growing the Alabama economy as a whole.

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

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