County’s jobless rate ticks up from previous month

Shelby County’s unemployment rate of 4.3 percent in December 2016 was slightly higher than the rate for the previous month and the same month last year.

The county’s jobless rate for both November 2016 and December 2015 was 4.1 percent.

The December 2016 rate represents 4,431 unemployed people in Shelby County out of a civilian labor force of 105,782.

Shelby County once again enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate in Alabama.

The next lowest rate was Elmore County at 4.8 percent followed by Cullman County at 4.9 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rate were Wilcox at 15.6 percent, Clarke at 11.1 percent and Green and Perry at 10.5 percent.

Unemployment rates for counties surrounding Shelby were Jefferson at 5.7 percent, St. Clair at 5.2 percent, Talladega at 7 percent, Coosa at 6.4 percent, Chilton at 5.5 percent and Bibb at 6.2 percent.

Hoover was among the major cities with the lowest unemployment rates.

Hoover’s 4.1 percent rate was higher than only Vestavia Hills (3.7 percent) and Homewood (3.8 percent).

Alabaster was the only other local municipality listed among the major cities.

Alabaster’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in December 2016, compared to 4.2 percent in November 2016 and 4.3 percent in December 2015.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 10 percent, Prichard at 9.9 percent and Bessemer at 9.8 percent.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that the state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate was 6.2 percent, up from November’s revised rate of 5.9 percent, and below December 2015’s rate of 6.3 percent.

December’s rate represents 136,409 unemployed persons, compared to 128,651 in November and 134,403 in December 2015. 2,066,842 people were employed in December, up from 2,066,012 in November and 2,011,475 in December 2015.

“Our unemployment rate rose in December because the labor force grew by nearly 9,000 in one month,” Washington said in a release. “This represents the largest labor force Alabama has seen in more than five years and indicates confidence in the job market. We also surpassed last month’s employment numbers, making December the month to beat. More people were working in December than at any time during 2016! We actually haven’t seen this many people working since April 2008.”

2,203,251 people were counted in December’s labor force, up 8,588 from the number recorded in November. The last time the labor force measured 2,203,251 or more was in May 2011, when it measured 2,204,321.