Jobless rate declines

Published 3:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2017

Unemployment rates in Pike County and throughout Alabama dropped in May, continuing an encouraging trend.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state of Alabama was 4.9 percent, down from Aprils rate of 5.4 percent and significantly lower than May 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent. In Pike County, the rate was 4.3 percent, down from 4.5 percent in April and 5.7 percent in May 2016.

“Over the past three months, our unemployment rate has fallen by an impressive 1.3 percentage points.  May’s figures represent the lowest unemployment rate in more than nine years and more people working now than in the last ten years,” Governor Ivey said. “It is a team effort, and I sure am proud this rate  decrease occurred during my first full month in office. We will continue to exhaust every effort and explore every opportunity until every Alabamian who wants a job, has a job.”

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The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was at or below 4.9 percent was March 2008 when it measured 4.8 percent. The last time Current Population Survey (CPS) employment measured at or above 2,089,217 was March 2007, when it was 2,090,126.

“Fifty thousand more people have jobs now than they did last year,” Secretary Washington said.  “Increased confidence in our economy is evidenced by not only that fact, but also that our employers are reporting the highest wage and salary employment numbers in almost a decade.  In fact, this is the fourth highest wage and salary employment count since we started keeping records in 1939.”

Wage and salary employment, totaling 2,014,600, increased in May by 13,100.  Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,100), the construction sector (+3,100), and the manufacturing sector (+1,500), among others.

The only other times wage and salary employment surpassed 2,014,600 were in December 2007 (2,026,700), November 2007 (2,022,000), and June 2007 (2,018,400).

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 33,000, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,500), the manufacturing sector (+6,300), and the education and health services sector (+6,000), among others.

All metropolitan areas had rate decreases both over-the-month and over-the-year.  Only one county (Sumter) experienced a rate increase over-the-month, and all counties saw their rates drop over-the-year.

“Several years ago, in the heart of the recession, it wasn’t uncommon to see more than half of our counties with double digit unemployment rates, particularly in the rural counties.  Today, only one county has double digit unemployment, and its rate has dropped by two full percentage points over the year,” Washington added.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.1 percent, Elmore County at 3.4 percent, and Cullman County at 3.5 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 10.9 percent, Clarke County at 8.0 percent, and Lowndes County at 7.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.7%, Homewood at 2.8%, and Hoover at 3.0%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 7.4%, Selma at 7.3%, and Anniston at 5.6%.