County, local cities have some of state’s lowest jobless rates

Alabaster has joined Hoover and Shelby County as areas with unemployment rates among the state’s lowest.

Shelby County, at 4.2 percent, once again had the state’s lowest preliminary unemployment rate for September.

Hoover and Alabaster—at 4.1 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively—were listed among the major cities with the lowest rates.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September is 5.4 percent, which was unchanged from the August rate but lower than the September 2015 rate of 5.4 percent.

Shelby County’s rate was 4.2 percent in August and 4.1 percent in September 2015.

Shelby County’s rate represents 4,576 unemployed residents among a civilian labor force of 107,955.

Unemployment rates for counties surrounding Shelby include Jefferson at 5.7 percent, St. Clair at 5.1 percent, Talladega at 6.6 percent, Coosa at 5.7 percent, Chilton at 5.3 percent and Bibb at 6.4 percent.

September’s state rate represents 117,125 unemployed persons, compared to 116,296 in August and 130,259 in September 2015. The number of employed persons in September is 2,048,257, up from 2,040,517 in August, and well above the 2,011,146 recorded in September 2015.

“Our unemployment rate held steady this month, remaining at its lowest point during my administration, which also happens to be its lowest point in more than eight years,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “We are continuing to see record low numbers of people who are unemployed, with September’s count marking the second lowest number of unemployed since 2008. We are continuing our efforts to ensure that every Alabamian who wants a job has one, and these numbers show we are having success in that endeavor.”

The last time that the unemployment rate was at or below 5.4 percent was in May 2008, when it was 5.2 percent. September’s count of 117,125 unemployed persons is slightly higher than August 2016’s count of 116,296, which marked the lowest number of unemployed since May 2008, when the number was 113,343.

“Another highlight from this month’s jobs numbers is the fact that our manufacturing employment is nearing pre-recession levels,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “Manufacturing has long been a strong industry in Alabama, and most of these jobs have higher than average salaries. August and September of this year are nearing our highest levels of manufacturing employment.

“On a more local level, 11 out of 12 metro areas and 87 percent percent of Alabama’s counties saw either no change or an improvement in their rates since last year.”

After Shelby, counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Lee and Elmore counties at 4.8 percent, and Cullman and Cherokee counties at 4.9 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 13.4 percent, Clarke County at 10.5 percent and Lowndes County at 10.3 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Homewood and Vestavia at 3.6 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were: Bessemer at 10.1 percent, Selma at 9.9 percent and Prichard at 9.4 percent.