County’s jobless rate down from previous month, year

Shelby County’s preliminary unemployment rate for February was lower than the previous month and the same month one year ago.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, Shelby County’s jobless rate was 4.5 percent in February, below the January rate of 5 percent and the February 2016 rate of 4.6 percent.

The rate represents 4,952 unemployed persons out of a Civilian Labor Force of 109,206.

Alabama’s preliminary unemployment rate for February was 6.2 percent, down from January’s rate of 6.4 percent and above February 2016’s rate of 6 percent.

Shelby County once again had the lowest unemployment rate in Alabama, followed by Elmore County at 5 percent and Madison and Lee counties at 5.2 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 14.9 percent, Clarke County at 11.2 percent and Lowndes County at 10.7 percent.

Rates for counties surrounding Shelby include Jefferson at 5.9 percent, St. Clair at 5.6 percent, Talladega at 7.2 percent, Coosa at 6.9 percent, Chilton at 5.7 percent and Bibb at 6.2 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 4 percent, Homewood at 4.1 percent, Hoover at 4.3 percent and Alabaster at 4.5 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 10.8 percent, Prichard at 10.3 percent and Bessemer at 8.5 percent.

Alabama’s February rate represented 2,067,042 people working, up from January’s count of 2,053,837, and significantly higher than February 2016’s count of 2,036,314.

February’s rate represents 136,826 unemployed persons, compared to 141,217 in January and 130,283 in February 2016.

“We are once again announcing that we have more people working in Alabama than have been over the last eight years,” Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “The labor force continues to grow, showing that jobseekers have confidence in our economy and are willing to enter the job market. Wage and salary employment is fewer than 20,000 jobs away from reaching the 2 million-mark milestone. We aren’t exactly where we need to be yet, but we are surely getting there.”

Alabama’s civilian labor force measured 2,203,868 in February, the highest it has been since June 2011, when it measured 2,202,354.

Wage and salary employment measured 1,980,800 in February, representing an increase of 13,300 from January. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (3,800), the professional and business services sector (3,500), and the leisure and hospitality sector (3,200), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment has increased 29,800, with gains in the educational and health services sector (7,700), the manufacturing sector (5,800), and the leisure and hospitality sector (5,600), among others.

“All of our counties and metros saw their rates drop this month, and 57 counties and 11 metros saw over-the -year declines,” Washington said.