State unemployment rate sets new record

Gov. Kay Ivey recently announced that, as of Friday, Dec. 22, the state of Alabama’s November unemployment rate set a record low of 3.5 percent. According to a press release from Ivey’s office, the October unemployment rate of 3.6 percent had already set a record. The November rate represents 75,087 unemployed Alabama residents.

“It was just last month when we reached the extraordinary milestone of breaking all previous unemployment rate records, but now, just a month later, the trend continues and we have once again broken those records,” Ivey said.

The press release named Shelby County as having the lowest unemployment in the state at 2.6 percent. Alabaster and Hoover were said to have tied for the third lowest unemployment rates of any major city at 2.6 percent.

“All 67 counties experienced significant drops in their employment rates over the year,” Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said.

The new unemployment rate is “well below” the November 2016 rate of 6.2 percent, which represented 136,135 people.

“We have 30,500 more jobs now than we did last year, over 40,000 more people are working and the number of unemployed has dropped by over 60,000 from last year – the fewest number of people counted as unemployed in Alabama history,” Ivey said. “We will continue our work to ensure that any Alabamian who wants a job can find one.”

Washington said he has seen an increase in employment in the state’s construction and manufacturing sectors, both of which are currently at some of their highest levels within this decade.

“Construction employment is an indicator of economic stability, and we have seen a steady increase in construction employment for most of this year,” Washington said. “Additionally, our manufacturing employment is at its highest levels in nearly nine years, nearing 2008 levels, which are pre-recessionary in Alabama.”

For Ivey, the new unemployment record signifies growth for the state’s residents and business communities.

“This continued historic decline in our unemployment rate, coupled with the fact that Alabama businesses are employing more Alabamians than ever before, shows that we are truly moving forward and proving to everyone that Alabama is a great place to live and do business,” Ivey said.