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Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to fall, reaches another record low


Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to drop.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said Friday that Alabama has reached a new record low unemployment rate in February 2019.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.

That is down from January’s rate of 3.8 percent, and it is below February 2018’s rate of 4.0 percent.

“Our unemployment rate, which is clocking in at a new record low of 3.7%, is proof that Alabama is open for business,” Washington said. “We’ve shattered employment records for nine months in a row now. People are continuing to join the labor force, with the expectation that they will get a job – and they’re getting jobs.”

The February rate represents 2,127,626 employed persons, compared to 2,123,650 last month and 2,100,195 in February 2018.

An additional 27,431 more people are working in 2019 than in 2018.

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Only 82,304 were counted as unemployed last month. This is the second lowest number ever recorded. 83,398 were unemployed in January and 87,534 a year ago.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said, “Alabama has reached a new RECORD low unemployment RATE! Having over 27,000 people working today than a year ago proves our economy is strong & what we’re doing in AL is working. I must commend our outstanding @al_labor & @MadeinAL for this exciting news.”

“More than 27,000 Alabamians are working now than a year ago, and they’re bringing home more money in their paychecks, which is great news for our economy,” Washington said.

Wages have also risen. Total private average weekly earnings rose to $839.59 in February, representing an over-the-year increase of $33.54.

Wage and salary employment increased over the year by 34,700. The biggest gains are in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,100), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,300), and the professional and business services sector (+5,100), among others.

Economic developer Nicole Jones said, “Alabama is open for business. Leaders in the public and private sector have collaborated well, and continue to collaborate, to create awareness about available job opportunities.”

“Since his appointment in 2014, Secretary Fitzgerald Washington and his team at the Alabama Department of Labor have analyzed trends in unemployment rates and have subsequently taken a proactive approach to address the issue,” Jones said. “Many times this meant going to the people in various counties and addressing what their needs are, discovering what their skillsets are, and bringing employers and training to them. Collectively, this has made a difference for the better.”

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Wage and salary employment increased in February by 15,300.

The biggest monthly gains were in the professional and business services sector (+5,400), the government sector (+4,000), and the education and health services sector (+3,200), among others.

All but one of Alabama’s 67 counties experienced drops in their unemployment rate this month, and 64 of 67 counties saw equal or lower rates than in February 2018.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 2.9%, Marshall, Madison, Elmore, and Cullman Counties at 3.3 percent, and Tuscaloosa and Morgan Counties at 3.4 percent. The Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 9.8 percent, Clarke County at 7.6 percent and Dallas County at 7.3 percent.

The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Vestavia Hills, Northport, and Homewood at 2.7 percent, Alabaster at 2.8 percent, and Hoover and Madison at 2.9 percent. The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 8.5 percent, Prichard at 6.8 percent and Mobile at 5.4 percent.

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

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