County’s jobless rate down significantly

Shelby County’s unemployment rate dropped significantly from March to April’s 3.3 percent figure.

The county’s rate was 4 percent in March and 3.9 percent in April 2016.

The rate represents 3,549 unemployed people in the county out of a civilian labor force of 109,089.

Shelby once again had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, followed by Elmore at 3.6 percent and Cullman at 3.7.

Rates for counties bordering Shelby include Jefferson at 4.3 percent, St. Clair at 4, Talladega at 5, Coosa at 4.7, Chilton at 4.1 and Bibb at 4.4.

Two Shelby County municipalities were also among the major cities with the lowest unemployment rates.

Hoover’s 3.1-percent jobless rate trailed only Homewood and Vestavia Hills, both at 2.9 percent, for lowest rates among major cities.

Alabaster was not far behind at 3.2 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Prichard at 8.2 percent, Selma at 7.8 and Bessemer at 6.2.

Hoover’s rate was down from 3.8 percent in both March and April 2016.

Alabaster’s rate was down from 4 percent in both March and April 2016.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, down from March’s rate of 5.8 percent and April 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent.

The 0.4-percent decrease was tied with Tennessee for the largest decrease in the country.

“50,000 more Alabamians are working now compared to last year,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a release. “This represents thousands of Alabama families that now have more opportunity than before. I am proud they have opportunities to put their skills into action. We haven’t seen an unemployment rate this low in nearly nine years. I took office in April and these numbers from that month confirm our message that ‘Alabama is open for business’ is being heard loud and clear.”

The last time the unemployment rate was at or below 5.4 percent in the state was in May 2008, when it measured 5.2 percent.

“On top of the drop in the unemployment rate, we’ve also reached a huge milestone in wage and salary employment,” Washington said in a release. “We’ve long said that reaching the 2 million jobs mark would be a true indicator of economic health. We’ve surpassed that number for the first time in almost nine years. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and it shows in these numbers.

“Every metropolitan statistical area and every county in the state saw their rates drop both over the month and over the year. Wilcox County, which traditionally has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, saw its rate drop two full percentage points this month.”