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Alabama sets new record low unemployment rate

Alabama set five new economic records in June, Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday.  June’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, setting a new record low, beating the previous record low of 3.7 percent.  June’s rate represents 2,160,931 employed people, a new record high, and represents 10,456 more than last month’s count, and 48,952 more than in June 2018.

“Another month, and yet another set of broken records,” Governor Kay Ivey said.  “It’s so exciting to be able to announce these great numbers month after month.  It’s always positive to announce a new record low unemployment rate, but we also saw more people working than ever before, fewer unemployed than ever before, more people in the workforce than ever before, and finally, more jobs than ever before.  These gains are momentous, and we certainly hope they continue as the year progresses.”

The civilian labor force increased over the year by 39,099 to a record high 2,240,309. The civilian labor force represents the number of people, aged 16 and over, who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.

The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to a new record low of 79,378, which represents a drop of 9,853 people from June 2018.

Alabama’s lowered unemployment rate can be seen closer to home as well. In June 2018, the number of people unemployed in Escambia County was 788. In June 2019, that number went down to 615. Escambia County’s unemployment rate is now 4.2 percent.

All 67 counties saw declines in their over-the-year unemployment rates, with drops ranging from half a percentage point to more than three percentage points.  Wilcox County, which traditionally has the state’s highest unemployment rate, saw its rate drop by 3.4 percentage points to 7.3 percent, its third lowest rate.

“To put this in perspective, take a look at Wilcox County,” Washington said. “During the recession, the county’s unemployment rate peaked at 31 percent in February 2010.  Nearly one in three people in that county’s labor force were out of work.  Now, they are at a near record low unemployment rate.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.5 percent, Marshall County at 2.8 percent, and Baldwin County at 2.9 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 7.3 percent, Greene and Perry Counties at 6.8 percent, and Clarke County at 6.5 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.2 percent, Homewood at 2.3 percent, and Alabaster at 2.4 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.2 percent, Prichard at 6.6 percent, and Anniston at 4.9 percent.