Alabama unemployment heading in right direction

By PAUL DEMARCO / Guest Columnist

The coronavirus impact on the economy has been devastating to business owners, particularly to those small employers.

With the shutdown of the economy last spring, the unemployment rate in Alabama reached 13.2 percent. Employees applied for state and federal benefits to bridge the gap to provide income for their families though the height of the pandemic. The job market reflected the devastating impact the virus had on the nation.

Even with the restrictions lifted, businesses have struggled this year to find employees to return to work.

Gov. Kay Ivey joined other states in the last several weeks in announcing an end to federal supplements to state unemployment benefits in the hope that some individuals would return to work as opposed to just depending on those sums alone.

Now the Alabama Department of Labor has announced a new unemployment rate of 3.6 percent for this past April, which gets the state back to numbers that are beginning to match pre-pandemic rates. This is the third month in a row that the state has had the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast. In addition, with Alabama having some of the lowest unemployment numbers in the Nation, there is hope the state economy will return to normal this year.

While we are still suffering from the effects of the coronavirus, with light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully Alabama businesses will lead the country in bringing its employees fully back to work.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.