County, local cities again among lowest unemployment rates

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Shelby County and some of its municipalities again were among the state’s lowest unemployment rates for February.

Shelby County had the lowest unemployment rate in Alabama, 3.1 percent, according to numbers announced by Gov. Kay Ivey, while Alabaster and Hoover, both at 3 percent, were two of the four major cities with the lowest rates.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, well below February 2017’s rate of 5.3 percent.

February’s rate represents 80,685 unemployed persons, compared to 80,807 in January and 115,397 in February 2017. More than 2 million people were counted as employed, up from January’s count of 2,079,876, and up from February 2017’s count of 2,060,841.

“The fact that we are able to maintain our record low unemployment rate for yet another month shows that we are, in fact, keeping Alabamians working,” Ivey said. “Once again, we can announce that we have the fewest number of unemployed people in history. More people are working, and our economy is adding jobs. This is a combination I’m proud of, and one we hope to maintain for many more months to come.”

“We have maintained a wage and salary employment count of over 2 million for 11 months in a row now,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “Not long ago, we were looking forward to just attaining that ‘magic number.’ We are consistently adding jobs to our economy. These numbers show that employers are confident in the economy and are continuing to hire.”

Wage and salary employment grew in February by 14,800. Monthly gains were seen in the education and health services sector (4,700), the government sector (2,600) and the professional and business services sector (2,400), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 19,300, with gains in the education and health services sector (5,000), the professional and business sector (4,300), the leisure and hospitality sector (4,200), and the manufacturing industry (2,400), among others.

After Shelby, counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Cullman County at 3.6 percent, and Marshall, Madison and Blount Counties at 3.7 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 10.5 percent, Clarke County at 8 percent and Lowndes County at 7.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 2.6 percent and Homewood at 2.9 percent, followed by Alabaster and Hoover.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Prichard at 7.5 percent, Selma at 7.2 percent and Anniston at 6.5 percent.