Shelby County, Hoover jobless rates among best in state

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The unemployment rates for Shelby County and Hoover were among the lowest in Alabama again in August.

The preliminary unemployment rate for Shelby County was 4.2 percent—the lowest rate for any county in the state—while Hoover’s rate was 4 percent.

The only major cities with lower unemployment rates in August were Vestavia Hills at 3.7 percent and Homewood at 3.9 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 10.2 percent, Prichard at 9.5 percent and Bessemer at 8.9 percent.

Shelby County’s unemployment rate was also 4.2 percent in July, and was 4.7 percent in August 2015.

The current rate represents 4,541 unemployed people in the civilian labor force.

Alabama’s seasonally adjusted rate was 5.4 percent, which is below July’s rate of 5.7 percent and the August 2015 rate of 6.1 percent.

“Lowering the unemployment rate and putting Alabamians back to work have been the major goals of my administration, and I’m proud to say that this month our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since I took office,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a press release. “These last two months have been great for Alabama! Our unemployment rate has dropped six tenths of a percent since June.

“We’ve had a good jobs week in Alabama. There was a huge job fair in the Wiregrass region of the state, with record attendance. We also announced more than 100 jobs in Houston County. And in addition to marking the lowest unemployment rate of my administration, we can also say that we have the least number of unemployed Alabamians in more than eight years.”

August’s rate represents 116,361 unemployed persons, compared to 123,034 in July and 129,780 in August 2015. The last time the number of unemployed persons was at or below 116,361 was May 2008, when the number measured 113,343.

“Not only did we see the unemployment rate drop, but we also saw the number of jobs our economy supports increase,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “Our total wage and salary employment is reaching levels that we haven’t seen in nearly eight years. Manufacturing employment is at its second highest level since 2009. These numbers show us that employers have jobs and are hiring Alabamians.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 15,600, with gains in the manufacturing sector (4,900), the education and health services sector (4,200), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (3,400), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in August by 8,000. Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (3,400), the education and health services sector (2,900), the government sector (2,900), and the manufacturing sector (1,700), among others.

“The continued improvement reaches to the county level as well,” Washington said. “Over the year, 66 of 67 counties experienced a drop in their unemployment rates, some counties by more than two percentage points.”

Over the year, only Perry County experienced an increase in its unemployment rate, rising from 10.5 percent to 10.9 percent.

After Shelby, counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Elmore County at 4.7 percent and Cullman County at 4.8 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 13.8 percent, Clarke County at 11.1 percent, and Perry County at 10.9 percent.

Rates for other counties bordering Shelby were Jefferson at 5.6 percent, St. Clair at 5 percent, Talladega at 6.3 percent, Coosa at 5.7 percent, Chilton at 5.2 percent and Bibb at 6.2 percent.