Shelby still state’s best county for employment as new record set

Published 4:02 pm Monday, January 22, 2018


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Friday that 2,093,063 people were counted as employed in December 2017, the most ever recorded.

This number is up from November’s count of 2,087,509, and up from December 2016’s count of 2,047,753.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December 2017 unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, maintaining the previous month’s record rate, and significantly below December 2016’s rate of 6.3 percent.

December’s rate represents 75,698 unemployed persons, down from 75,775 in November and 137,875 in December 2016.

“We are ending 2017 with great news on the employment front,” Ivey said in a release. “Not only have we reached a record low unemployment rate, but now we can add another record to our list – more people are working in Alabama than ever before! We’ve been busy recruiting new business to our state, like our recent announcement of Toyota-Mazda’s decision to locate in North Alabama, bringing 4,000 jobs and more than 300 jobs in Troy due to Kimber’s recent announcement.”

“In early 2017, economists predicted that Alabama’s economy would gain 18,700 jobs over the year,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “I’m happy to say that we surpassed that prediction by more than 13,000 jobs, gaining a total of 32,500 jobs. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and we stand ready to provide whatever assistance is needed to make sure that they are able to fill their open positions.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 32,500, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (plus-8,700), the construction sector (6,100), and the manufacturing sector (5,800), among others.

“Over the year, all 67 showed significant decreases in their unemployment rates,” Washington said. “Wilcox County is leading with a 6.2 percentage point drop from the same time last year.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.5 percent, Cullman County at 2.8 percent, and Marshall, Madison, and Lee Counties at 2.9 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.5 percent, Clarke County at 6.7 percent, and Lowndes County at 6.5 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.1 percent, Homewood at 2.3 percent, and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.4 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.3 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent and Anniston at 5 percent.