County, state jobless rates continue to fall

Shelby County’s unemployment rate was down again in May, falling to 3.1 percent, compared to the 4 percent in May 2016, according to information released by the Alabama Department of Labor.

The county’s jobless rate was 3.2 percent in April.

The most recent rate represents 3,379 unemployed people out of a civilian labor force of 108,918.

Alabaster’s unemployment rate continued to mirror the county at large.

The city’s rate was 3.1 percent in May, 3.2 percent in April and 3.9 percent in May 2016.

Alabaster was behind only Vestavia Hills (2.7 percent), Homewood (2.8) and Hoover (3) among major cities with the lowest unemployment rates.

Hoover, part of which lies in Shelby County, had an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent in April and 3.9 percent in May 2016.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Prichard at 7.4 percent, Selma at 7.3 percent and Anniston at 5.6 percent.

Gov. Kay Ivey, along with Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, down from April’s rate of 5.4 percent and significantly lower than May 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent.

May’s rate represents 107,364 unemployed persons, compared to 119,113 in April and 125,153 in May 2016.

May’s rate represents 2,089,217 employed Alabamians, compared to 2,088,764 in April and 2,038,912 in May 2016.

“Over the past three months, our unemployment rate has fallen by an impressive 1.3 percentage points,” Ivey said in a release. “May’s figures represent the lowest unemployment rate in more than nine years and more people working now than in the last 10 years.

“It is a team effort, and I sure am proud this rate decrease occurred during my first full month in office. We will continue to exhaust every effort and explore every opportunity until every Alabamian who wants a job, has a job.”

The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was at or below 4.9 percent was March 2008 when it measured 4.8 percent.

“Fifty thousand more people have jobs now than they did last year,” Washington said. “Increased confidence in our economy is evidenced by not only that fact, but also that our employers are reporting the highest wage and salary employment numbers in almost a decade. In fact, this is the fourth highest wage and salary employment count since we started keeping records in 1939.”

All metropolitan areas had rate decreases both over-the-month and over-the-year. Only one county (Sumter) experienced a rate increase over-the-month, and all counties saw their rates drop over-the-year.

Shelby County once again had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, followed by Elmore County at 3.4 percent and Cullman County at 3.5 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 10.9 percent, Clarke County at 8 percent and Lowndes County at 7.4 percent.

Unemployment rates for counties surrounding Shelby included Jefferson at 4.1 percent, St. Clair at 3.8 percent, Talladega at 4.8 percent, Coosa at 4.4 percent, Chilton at 3.9 percent and Bibb at 4.2 percent.