Alabama reaches new record low as Shelby County’s unemployment rate drops to 1.9 percent

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Alabama’s unemployment rate for September, 3 percent, was a record low, and Shelby County’s rate for the same month dipped to 1.9 percent.

Shelby County’s rate was 2.1 percent in August—lowest in the state—and 2.7 percent in September 2018.

The county rate represents employment of 113,783 people out of a labor force of 115,936.

After Shelby, counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Morgan, Marshall, Madison and Limestone Counties at 2.1 percent; and Tuscaloosa, Lee, Elmore, Cullman, Crenshaw and Baldwin Counties at 2.2 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 6.2 percent, Dallas County at 5.2 percent and Clarke County at 5.1 percent.

The jobless rate for two of the county’s major cities also dropped.

Alabaster and Hoover both saw their unemployment rates decrease from 2 percent in August to 1.8 percent in September, placing them among the state’s major cities with the lowest rates.

The only major cities in Alabama with lower jobless rates are Northport at 1.5 percent, Vestavia Hills at 1.6 percent and Homewood at 1.7 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 5.9 percent, Prichard at 4.9 percent and Bessemer at 3.7 percent.

Alabama’s rate was down from August’s previous record setting rate of 3.1 percent, and below September 2018’s rate of 3.8 percent.

September’s rate represents 2,194,158 employed persons, a new record high, up 75,426 from September 2018’s count. There were 66,919 unemployed persons counted in September, setting yet another record low, compared to 70,608 in August and 84,568 in September 2018.

The civilian labor force grew to 2,261,077, a new high, up from 2,255,088 in August and 2,203,300 in September 2018.

“Here we are again, Alabama! Once again, we’re breaking economic records: new low unemployment rate, more people working than ever before, fewer unemployed people than ever before, and the largest labor force we’ve ever seen,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “While we continue to be proud and amazed at these wonderful numbers, we cannot become complacent and forget our commitment to Alabama—to make sure that everyone who wants a job can have one.  We’re working hard to make that a reality, and we will keep pushing for even more economic opportunities for hardworking Alabamians.”

Alabama’s economy has gained 55,900 jobs since January 2019.  Economists predicted that 2019 total job growth would measure 22,200.

Total private average weekly earnings increased by $11.97 over the month to $862.70, which also represents an over-the-year increase of $12.81.  The only time average weekly earnings were higher was in December 2018, when they measured $866.63.

All counties and major cities experienced rate drops both over-the-month and over-the-year.  Wilcox County, which is traditionally the county with the highest unemployment rate, saw its rate reach a record low in September at 6.2 percent.