By WILL WHATLEY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – According to the numbers, it’s a good time to be working in Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Labor announced today that February’s unemployment rate of 3.7 percent is the lowest recorded rate in the state’s history. February’s rate is a tick down from January’s 3.8 percent, the previous record low, and below February 2018’s 4.0 percent.
“The outstanding work being done by the Alabama Departments of Labor and Commerce is helping to ensure businesses are growing in our state and that we are connecting employees with those jobs,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a written statement. “We still have more people seeking employment opportunities and we will do all we can to help them find jobs as well.”
February’s rate represents a total of 2.12 million employed people, which is the ninth month in a row that number reached a record high. Additionally, the number of people out of work and looking for jobs dropped to 82,304, the second-lowest number ever recorded, compared to 83,398 in January and 87,534 in February 2018.
“The fact that we are continuing to hit historic lows is a sign that our economy is strong and that what we are doing in Alabama is working,” Ivey said. “Those who are looking for jobs are finding jobs and businesses in our state are employing more people than ever.”
Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said an additional 27,000 Alabamians are working now as compared to a year ago and those working are bringing home higher wages. Total private average weekly earnings rose to $839.59, representing an increase of $33.54 compared to February 2018.
“Our unemployment rate, which is clocking in at a new record low of 3.7 percent, is proof that Alabama is open for business,” Washington said. “We’ve shattered employment records for nine months in a row now. People are continuing to join the labor force, with the expectation that they’ll get a job – and they’re getting jobs.”
Sixty-six of Alabama’s 67 counties saw a drop in their unemployment rate from last month, and 64 counties saw their rate drop or stay equal to this time last year. Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County (2.9 percent); Cullman, Elmore, Madison and Marshall counties (3.3 percent); and, Morgan and Tuscaloosa counties (3.4 percent). Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Dallas County (7.3 percent); Clarke County (7.6 percent); and Wilcox County (9.8 percent).
The full list of unemployment rates by county is below.