Cities, county, state all experience drop in unemployment rates

Another significant drop in Alabaster’s unemployment rate has it tied for the second-lowest rate among major cities in Alabama, according to the latest figures for September released by the office of Gov. Kay Ivey.

Shelby County again had the lowest jobless rate among counties in Alabama, and the state’s rate was tied for the lowest in recorded history.

Alabaster’s unemployment rate of 2.3 percent is down from the August rate of 3 percent and the September 2016 rate of 4.5 percent.

The rate represents 403 unemployed people out of a civilian labor force of 17,355.

The city’s rate was higher than only Vestavia Hills (2.2 percent) and tied with Homewood ahead of Hoover at 2.4 percent among major cities.

Major cities with the highest rates were Selma at 7 percent, Prichard at 6.4 percent and Bessemer at 4.7 percent.

After Shelby County’s rate of 2.4 percent, counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Marshall and Cullman at 2.8 percent, and Madison, Lee and Elmore counties at 2.9 percent.

Counties with the highest rates were Wilcox County at 8.9 percent, Clarke County at 6.7 percent and Dallas County at 6.3 percent.

Shelby County’s rate was 3.2 percent in August and 4.6 percent in September 2016.

Shelby County’s rate represents 2,617 unemployed people out of a civilian labor force of 107,941.

Rates for neighboring counties were Jefferson at 3.2 percent, St. Clair at 3 percent, Talladega at 3.7 percent, Coosa at 3.3 percent, Chilton at 3 percent and Bibb at 3.3 percent.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, down from August’s rate of 4.2 percent, and well below September 2016’s rate of 6 percent.

The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was this low was in April 2007, when it also measured 3.8 percent, the lowest rate in recorded history.

“We’ve been working extremely hard over the past six months to bring Alabama’s unemployment rate down, and today’s news shows that our efforts are paying off,” Ivey said in a press release. “This is truly an historic day, as we announce that Alabama’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has ever been. When it comes to job creation, we are doing the right thing and momentum is on our side in Alabama. But, we won’t let up and we will continue recruiting new businesses and encouraging existing firms to expand. We can’t and won’t slow down just because we’ve reached this milestone.”

“Nearly 23,000 more people are working now than last year and the number of unemployed is down by almost 50,000. Those numbers represent real workers, with real families, and indicate real progress in our economy,” Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “Alabama’s employers continue to add jobs, supporting more than 2,011,000 positions this month, beating yearly job growth projections by 28,400 only nine months into the year. We remain hopeful that this wonderful progress continues throughout the rest of the year.

“All 67 counties experienced drops in their unemployment rates, both over the year and over the month, and for the first time in a decade, no county has a rate in the double digits.”