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Hartselle Enquirer

Unemployment rate continues downward trend statewide

The unemployment rate across Alabama continues its downward trend as people get back to work and the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, the state announced this past week.

Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent in the past month, compared to 7.9 percent a year ago. The jobless rate fell in May from 3.6 percent in April, while wage and salary employment increased by 4,700, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

May’s rate represents 75,458 unemployed people – the lowest number thus far in 2021 – compared to 79,319 in April 2021 and 174,680 in May 2020.

“Our record-breaking streak is continuing in May, and we hope it continues throughout the rest of the year,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “Yet again, we’ve dropped our unemployment rate, and each month we are getting closer and closer to our pre-pandemic record low unemployment rate of 2.6 percent.

“Our economy is adding jobs, and earlier barriers to joining the workforce have been significantly reduced. In fact, there are more job postings than there are people counted as unemployed. Alabama is, once again, open for business.”

Not only are Alabamians getting back to work, wages are also on the rise, according to the ADOL.

ADOL secretary Fitzgerald Washington said the economy is continuing its recovery – and as a result, paychecks are growing.

“Once again, our average weekly wages are at new record high, representing an almost $67 per week over-the-year increase,” Washington said in a statement. “Both the leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors are showing record high wages as well, with significant yearly increases.”

Locally, Morgan County’s unemployment rate saw no change from April but is well below the statewide rate at 2.2 percent.

In May 2020 Morgan County’s unemployment rate was 5.8 percent. Lawrence and Limestone both boast unemployment rates that have dropped significantly, sitting at 2.4 and 2.1 percent, respectively, for the month of May.

Birmingham’s Shelby County had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.8 percent. Blount County followed close behind at 1.9 percent, and Marshall County came in at 2 percent.

In the southwestern area of the state, Wilcox, Lowndes and Perry counties were among those with the highest unemployment rates, at 8.8, 8.2 and 7 percent, respectively.

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