Jobless rates down for county, local cities

The unemployment rate for Shelby County and two of its municipalities dropped from February to March, according to the most recent data released by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Shelby County’s March unemployment rate of 2.8 percent represents a decrease from February’s rate of 3 percent and the March 2017 rate of 3.7 percent.

Shelby County’s rate was again the state’s lowest, followed by Cullman County at 3.2 percent and Marshall County at 3.3 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 9.4 percent, Clarke County at 7.4 percent and Lowndes County at 6.9 percent.

The rates for counties surrounding Shelby includes Jefferson at 3.6 percent, St. Clair at 3.5 percent, Talladega at 4.3 percent, Coosa at 4.2 percent, Chilton at 3.5 percent at Bibb at 3.7 percent.

Alabaster and Hoover, tied with Northport at 2.8 percent unemployment in March, were among the major cities with the lowest unemployment rates.

Vestavia Hills at 2.4 percent and Homewood at 2.6 percent had the lowest rates.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Prichard at 6.9 percent, Selma at 6.4 percent and Anniston at 5.7 percent.

Alabaster has seen its jobless rate drop from 3.7 percent in March 2017 and 2.9 percent in February.

Hoover’s rate has been similar, at 3.5 percent in March 2017 and 3 percent in February.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March 2018 unemployment rate of 3.8 percent is up slightly from February’s rate of 3.7 percent yet below March 2017’s rate of 5 percent.

“Alabama is benefitting from a strong economy right now, and this month’s employment numbers show that we are keeping that momentum going,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “Alabamians are working and employers are adding jobs. Not only that, but wages are rising as well. In fact, our construction industry is recording its highest weekly wages in more than a decade.

“All of our major cities and metro areas saw their unemployment rates drop both over the month and over the year. Sixty-six of 67 counties saw their rates drop this month, and all counties have significantly lower rates now than they did a year ago. We can also once again say that all of our counties have single digit unemployment rates, as Wilcox County had both the largest monthly and yearly drop to bring its rate down to 9.4 percent.”