Shelby County jobless rate drops

Shelby County’s unemployment rate for March dropped significantly from the February and March 2016 rates.

The most recent rate, according to information provided by the Alabama Department of Labor, was 4 percent, down from the February rate of 4.5 percent and the March 2016 rate of 4.4 percent.

The rate represents 4,365 unemployed people out of a civilian labor force of 109,012.

Shelby County once again had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, followed by Elmore County at 4.4 percent and Cullman County at 4.5 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 13.8 percent, Clarke and Greene counties at 9.6 percent and Lowndes County at 9.3 percent.

Unemployment rates for counties surrounding Shelby were Jefferson at 5.2 percent, St. Clair at 4.9 percent, Talladega at 6.1 percent, Coosa at 6.1 percent, Chilton at 5.1 percent and Bibb at 5.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 3.5 percent, Homewood at 3.7 percent, Hoover at 3.8 percent and Alabaster at 4 percent.

Hoover’s rate was down from 4.3 percent in both February and March 2016.

Alabaster’s rate mirrored Shelby County’s rate, with the February number at 4.5 percent and the March 2016 rate at 4.4 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma and Prichard at 9.5 percent, Bessemer at 7.4 percent and Anniston at 6.8 percent.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate was 5.8 percent, down from February’s rate of 6.2 percent and below March 2016’s rate of 5.9 percent.

“I am honored that the first employment numbers announced during my administration are on the right side of the ledger,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

March’s rate represents 128,757 unemployed persons, compared to 136,667 in February and 128,478 in March 2016.

March’s rate represents 2,080,139 employed persons, compared to 2,067,352 in February and 2,037,370 in March 2016.

“I am encouraged to hear that nearly 13,000 more Alabamians have a job today than did in February,” Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a release. “As we work to improve Alabama’s image, these figures are welcomed news, but they are just a start.

“The month’s drop in the unemployment rate came about because more people entered the labor force looking for work, and most of them found it.”